Photo Credit: Hush Naidoo
A question many think about when moving to a smaller city, is what kind of healthcare options are available? Laramie may feel small, but the medical offerings are big. Ivinson Memorial Hospital is centrally located and has almost everything a person could need. It contains 99 beds, a birthing center and nursery, a cancer center and a host of specialists to help whatever your health requires.
Laramie also has its very own bone and joint center that provides rehab, orthopedic surgery and other specialty medicine for the injuries you may incur while playing hard in the nearby areas.
Besides some of the major medical practices, Laramie has numerous dentist, Optometrists, Chiropractors and just about every other specialty a person needs. Doctors from larger areas also come to Laramie regularly for specialties like dermatology, ear nose and throat, and allergy specialists.
Laramie is a small town with big amenities. Rest assured that your body and spirit will thrive in our beautiful town.
Photo Credit: Dave Adamson
With fall upon us we get to look forward to the great sports that most of us watch and some of us to take part in. Wyoming has great pride in its athletics and football is probably its number one. The Pokes (aka the Wyoming Cowboys) have had their ups and downs the last 5 years. But in 2014 Craig Bohl was brought on as head coach and he is having great success at recruiting players and rebuilding a sports program. In 2016 they were the Mountain West Division Campions and have won 2 Bowl bids in the last 5 years. They play home games in War Memorial Stadium at 7220’ elevation, which they hope is an advantage over their opponents. Gamedays in Laramie bring the town alive and the people of Laramie know how to put on a good tailgate, so if you find yourself in town during a game make your way down to the stadium and find out how welcoming this community is. For more info or to buy tickets click here: https://gowyo.com/index.aspx?path=football
Volleyball in Laramie is another fun way to enjoy some good family fun during the cooler fall nights. The Cowgirls have a good program and are continuing to build it up. They play in the UniWyo Federal Credit Union Sports Complex that is situated between the Arena Auditorium and War Memorial fieldhouse. The games are a great time to see some school spirit and watch some intense volleyball action. To view games and buy tickets click here: https://gowyo.com/index.aspx?path=wvball.
Along with the major two sport Laramie is alive with different sporting events. There are also many club sports like rugby and women’s soccer and many community leagues for a multitude of sports. As we work our way closer to winter, women’s and men’s basketball and men’s wrestling bring another level of fun.
In short if you like big time sports with a small friendly hometown feeling Laramie will not disappoint you.
Photo Credit: Becca McHaffie
The shopping experience in Laramie is wonderful and continues to get better with new stores coming in all the time. Whether you are looking to upgrade those old cowboy boots (Martindale’s) or you want to change up the furnishings of your house (Bent and Rusty and many others), Laramie has everything someone could want. We have 20+ downtown shops that are full of charm and smiling faces of the people who live in and love this community. Don’t miss shopping during the holiday season. Downtown Laramie delivers on Small Business Saturday, the shopping event that follows black Friday. Don’t be surprised to find the downtown shops looking like something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie during this special time of year. Shop owners pull out all the stops – handing out cider and cocoa while their stores are truly decked for the holidays. Don’t forget to take
Outside of the downtown area there are other shopping offerings as well. Laramie has many bike shops, and other outdoor retailers. Outdoor enthusiasts of all levels will find new gear and rentals available on things like Nordic and downhill skis, mountain bikes and canoes, kayaks or stand up paddleboards.
Along with all of our locally owned shops we do have some chain stores as well: Maurice’s, Murdoch’s and a few big box stores. Rest assured that you will be able to find anything that one might want or need in one of our quaint shopping establishments.
While summer is winding down in Laramie, there’s still plenty of time left to soak up the sun. Here’s a few Laramie activities to squeeze in before the cooler days of autumn are upon us.
- Head to the Thursday and Friday evening farmer’s markets.
Thursday nights the market is at Undine Park and features local vendors. On Friday’s head downtown to the Train Depot for the Downtown Farmer’s Market where you’ll find yummy fruits and vegetables, breads, sweets and other delicious treats.
- Tackle Medicine Bow Peak.
Photo Credit: Trip Advisor
Throw your hiking boots on and conquer Medicine Bow Peak. Take time to reflect from an altitude of 12,014 feet.
- Walk or ride your bike around Laramie.
Before the snow begins to fall take a walk or ride around Laramie and get to know your neighbors. It can be easy to hibernate during the winter so while the weather is still fair, make some new friends!
- Take one last camping trip.
With so many local campgrounds to choose from, there’s no excuse not to squeeze in one final camping trip of the year. Enjoy some peace and quiet, roast hot dogs and s’mores over a fire and breathe in the cool mountain air. You’ll make great memories!
- Hot Springs
If camping isn’t your thing and you’re more interested in a weekend retreat that includes a bit of pampering, head over to Saratoga for a stay at Saratoga Hot Springs Resort. Lay by the pool and enjoy a dip in the tee-pee hot tubs (there are varying temps so experiment until you find your perfect one!). Don’t forget to stop by Lollypops for some summer ice cream or have dinner at one of the amazing restaurants (we’re looking at you, Bella’s Bistro).
- Plan a Labor Day BBQ
One of the best parts of summer is grilling!
Plan a Labor Day BBQ and invite friends and family to enjoy the last bits of summer. Need menu inspiration? Check out Pinterest or Instagram.
Summer gets a lot of credit for being the best season in Laramie, and while it is a wonderful time of year, every season brings its own special characteristics that make Laramie Laradise.
Join us for an open house at this timeless mid-century modern in the established Alta Vista neighborhood on Wednesday, August 7 from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. This home boasts 2,117 sq. feet with 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths. Beautiful hand-scraped Brazilian cherry flooring is throughout the home with a wood-burning stove in the living room, the perfect place to get cozy on cold Laramie nights. Vaulted ceilings give this area of the home an expansive, open feel.
This home features elevated luxury with a fully remodeled kitchen complete with granite countertops, a wine fridge and plenty of pull out and lazy susan cabinet storage. All appliances are new, stainless steel and the kitchen looks out onto the expansive backyard as well as the Snowy Range Mountains. The main floor of the house includes the master suite, a large bedroom and bathroom. This home is full of charming surprises including an area under the stairs that is perfect for evening homework.
Upstairs, you’ll find two bedrooms and one full, completely remodeled bathroom including shiplap walls and custom vanity.
This home sits on a .25 acre lot and the size is reflected in the large backyard. This space is perfect for entertaining and the owners say it is the best spot in Laramie for watching Fourth of July fireworks. The large, wooden playset will be sold with the home as well as the custom SheShed! This area is perfect as a home office, crafting spot or just a place to escape the kids and relax. The owner has cultivated a vegetable garden that sits in a fenced area at the edge of the yard – a little spot of paradise!
Join us for an Open House on Wednesday, August 7 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. or view the entire listing here.
The last thing in the world you would ever want is to spend a bunch of time searching for a home, finding that perfect place and then not being approved for your mortgage. There are also many common mistakes homebuyers make that could make the process much more painful than it has to be.
We’re writing this article because we know how stressful it can be to buy a house. In order to make your process easier, we are going to cover the 9 things you shouldn’t do when buying a home.
1) Don’t overestimate your budget.
Ever heard the expression “House poor“? Many homebuyers overestimate what they can actually afford and end up with very little wiggle room financially. Before jumping into buying, make sure you have a realistic idea of the yearly costs involved with owning a home.
Remember, there is your mortgage, property taxes, utilities, insurance and repairs. All of this before you even think about making upgrades. Factor in all the costs and leave yourself some room.
2) Don’t let your emotions run wild.
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions of your life. It’s normal to be excited and fall in love with a home. However, try to keep a level head. Falling in love with a home can cloud your judgement or end in disappointment. This can happen if unforeseen issues are exposed in the inspection or if someone puts in an offer before you.
If you don’t find a home… don’t get discouraged. Home searching can be a lengthy process. It will be worth it when you find the winner.
3) Don’t talk to sellers about plans for the house.
As much as you are excited to get in and put your personal touch on the home, it’s best to keep this to yourself. Sometimes home buyers meet and get to know the home owners. This is fine, but remember that the current owner will have an emotional attachment to the property.
It’s best not to make them feel like you’re going to come in and completely change the place. If you make conversation with the owners, just keep the conversation light.
4) Don’t withdraw or deposit a lot of cash.
Going further with your financial history, cash withdraws and deposits also play a part in your mortgage approval rate. Large quantities of cash going in or out of your accounts signals a warning sign that you do not have stability. Avoid any sporadic withdraws or deposits of large sums of cash.
5) Don’t apply for more credit.
The amount you are approved for on your mortgage comes down to your capital. How much money do you have at your disposal? Applying for extra credit increases your debt. This extra debt decreases the amount you will be approved for on a mortgage.
6) Don’t co-sign a loan.
While a loan may not technically be yours – it will still equally count towards your overall debt. Co-signing a loan can have an impact on not only the amount of your mortgage, but approval rate in general. Avoid co-signing any loans until you have purchased your home.
7) Don’t finance a car or furniture.
As financing is again a loan, it is therefore debt. Stay away from financing a car or furniture for the above mortgage approval reasons.
8) Don’t switch or leave your job.
Financial stability is one of the most important factors considered when a bank is approving your mortgage. The key to financial stability is having a dependable income. If you switch or leave your job, often or before applying for a mortgage, this may signal red flags.
If you are thinking about a move, hang tight with your job until after your mortgage is approved.
Ensure you don’t make these mistakes
There are many important things to consider when purchasing a home. It is one of the biggest decisions of your life.
In order to ensure that you get the house you want, when you want it, you need to understand and follow those above tips. Doing so will increase your chances of finding that perfect home and getting it. Remember that financials are very important when it comes time to apply for a mortgage. Make that your priority.
Also keep in mind the emotional aspects of purchasing a home and try to stay cool. It can be a draining process, but it will be worth it when you get the keys to the castle!
Are you looking for a home in the area? Give me a call. I’d love to help you find a home (and make sure you make none of the above mistakes in the process!)
Choosing whether to rent or own a home is not an easy decision. It requires you to carefully examine the factors and costs associated with each option. Which is better? That depends.
Your unique economic situation, lifestyle and goals play the largest part in deciding what is better for you. It’s important to go into your calculations with open eyes. As much as you want a home, you may not be able to afford it. Or it may not be the right decision for the way you like to live.
Factors To Consider When Buying/Renting a Home
The following four points are the largest factors to consider when weighing the pros and cons of home ownership vs. rental.
1) What are the total costs?
Many people look at the economics of home-ownership as a mortgage payment only. In reality there are insurance, repairs, property tax, homeowners association dues etc. that all have to be factored in to your monthly costs. Check out this calculator from the New York Times to see more.
Use a calculator and compare to see if:
- The monthly cost as a homeowner is less than renting.
- You can afford the monthly cost (if it works out more than renting in your area)
- Saving a 10-20% down-payment is feasible for you
If owning a home definitely the way to go for you, you need to be able to answer the above questions definitively.
2) What is important to you?
Are you more interested in building for the future, or reducing your financial risk until you can figure out a plan? You may want to own if you are thinking about starting a family. But as someone who is single, you may enjoy your freedom and having less financial debt. (Even if it is building your net worth in the long run)
Undoubtedly, buying a house only makes sense if you plan to set up roots. If you plan to move within (or every) 5 years, your transaction costs will likely bring the equity you build in your house to zero. Thus diminishing your upside while carrying all of the liabilities that come along with home ownership. Owning a home is a smart decision if you plan to stay for 10 years or more.
3) What is your preferred lifestyle?
Do you want to build a career in a specific city or travel around? Do you have long-term goals in mind? It’s okay if you don’t. The most important part is being aware of where you are at. You may want to get some international work experience or try your luck in another part of the country. Or not.
Really think about what you want. You could lose some serious money if you buy a house and sell within a few years because you decide it isn’t for you.
4) What are the opportunity costs?
Think about the pros and cons of home-ownership. On one hand, you will always have a home base. On the other, you have a property that ties you down to a geographical location. Can you make more money in another city? With a home, you can’t move to pursue those opportunities.
If rent is equal to monthly payments as an owner, think about the opportunity costs of having all of your money tied up in the house. For example, some investors may rent and opt to invest their money in the stock-market or other investments in their portfolio. Can you make higher percentage returns yearly with the money you would be using for a down payment?
The above were things you will want to consider. If you need to be realistic to make the right decision about renting vs owning a home. The below two situations may help if you aren’t able to come to a conclusion.
When is Renting a Home Better?
Despite popular belief, owning a home is not always the best decision. Let’s not be black and white. It depends on your particular situation.
You may want to rent if:
- You want to travel and set-up shop in different places every few years.
- You do not have the job or financial security to (realistically) guarantee payments for years to come.
- You have demonstrated the ability to make better financial returns through other investments.
There are other factors. However, this is a good starting point to help you determine your argument for renting versus owning a home. The benefit of renting is not being tied down to a geographic location and being able to leave when your lease runs up.
When is Owning a Home Better?
Owning a home is the long-term game. You need to have your goals in mind and understand if you can afford it.
You may want own if:
- You are okay with staying in one place for 10 years or more.
- You have the financial stability to afford the home (and float payments if you lose your job)
- You want to leverage your home as an investment property down the line (through rental)
Owning a home gives you an anchor. It helps you stay grounded by having a home base. At the same time, you can increase your upward potential by leveraging the home as an investment property.
Some food for thought
Choosing to rent or own your home is a big decision. It depends on your individual situation and vision for the future. In short, owning is traditionally the better long-term strategy. However, that’s not to say that you can’t do as good or better with the right investment portfolio.
Before jumping into anything, analyze yourself. Think hard about where you are and what you want for the future. Speak to a realtor and see if they have any advice for your individual situation.
If you are looking at purchasing property in the area, give me a call. I’d love to discuss your options and see if buying is the right path for you.
You want to make the most money possible when it comes time to sell your home. The way to do that is by improving and updating the things in your home that buyers look for the most.
We compiled this list for those looking to boost their resale value. It’s important to focus on the renovation projects that will net you the highest ROI. All of the projects on this list were chosen for their ability to produce high ROI as well as create a more desirable home. Remember – it’s important to make money. But it’s also important your house doesn’t sit on the market for a year.
Make these updates and you should fetch a high sale price, quicker than you would otherwise.
1) Remodel the Kitchen
The decision among real estate experts about where you get the highest ROI renovating your home is unanimous. The answer is in the kitchen. For some reason people just want nice kitchens and care about it more than the rest of the house… Maybe it’s because that’s where people like to entertain guests. Your main priority when renovating a kitchen should be layout. Creating a structure (or bones) that is functional and can easily be updated is super important. It’s one thing to replace a counter-top and cabinet doors. It’s a different story to completely renovate the whole kitchen.
Once you get the structure out of the way, search for materials that have a high quality look without a big price tag. You can make a space look modern and luxurious without having to use marble and granite.
2) Update Bathrooms
Bathrooms are the second place buyers typically place the most value in a home. The good news is that making updates to a bathroom doesn’t have to cost a fortune. En-suite/master bathrooms are the most important. As they say, it’s where the magic happens. Cast a spell on potential buyers with a beautiful en-suite. That was really corny I know…
3) Repair plumbing issues
Can we say structural problems? This is the #1 worry of all potential buyers. No one wants to move into a beautiful new house and have a disaster occur two or three months down the road. Re-doing your old piping and updating it to a newer plastic solution is a huge selling point. This removes some of the potential fear that comes with buying a home.
4) Remove paneling
Wood paneling and Stucco are common in older homes. Mainly because when it was popular, we didn’t have walls without imperfections like we do now. Not only are these two things ugly, they also show potential buyers that you lack the ability to update your home. “If you can’t update this, what is is lurking?”
5) Attic Renovation
Attic renovations are a popular choice among DIY projects as expenses can be minimized. In many houses you will have the bones for a room. All that is required of you is putting up walls and handling the cosmetics. Updated attics can sometimes be a stronger selling point than updated basements.
6) Replace Siding
Since curb appeal is so important, it makes sense to focus on the biggest factor. The outside of the house. Everyone knows the dingy, yellow siding that used to be white 60 years ago look. If your house looks like that – sorry. It’s time to update. For those on a budget you can also try power washing. Power washing sometimes brings better results than you could imagine. And it barely costs
7) New Garage Door
In addition to replacing/refreshing your siding and landscaping well, your garage door can play a big part in selling your house. It’s another element of curb appeal that can draw in or turn-off potential buyers. Luckily, new garage doors re-coup on average 80% of their investment in the long term. Basically, it will help you break even (or make money) while making your house more desirable.
You want to sell your home in the least amount of time and for the most amount of money possible. The way to do this is by performing renovations with a high ROI. In addition, you want to focus on the most desirable updates. Doing so will ensure you attract more interest on your property.
Each of these on the list may not be necessary or feasible with your budget. Remember that curb appeal, kitchens and bathrooms are important. If you can focus on nothing else, focus on those things. These projects will reduce your risk of losing money in the renovation process and also help you sell quicker.
Need more information on selling your home in the area? Give me a call!