Thinking about a Patio?

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Evaluate Your Yard for a Patio

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By: Andrea Nordstrom Caughey
Published: March 18, 2010

Evaluate your yard for a patio by understanding costs, the shape of your property, and variables such as sun and shade.

If you love the great outdoors, you’re not alone. Outdoor living is one of the fastest-growing segments of the remodeling market. In fact, the entire “outdoor leisure lifestyle” industry is now a $6.2 billion business–up 5.4% since 2002, according to statistics from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.
One reason that outdoor living is so popular is that it expands living area at minimal cost. Leading the way to this low-cost pursuit of leisure is the patio. With new home construction costs averaging $95 per square foot, and decks coming in around $33 per square foot, an all-brick patio averages only about $15 per square foot.

In addition to helping expand usable square footage, patios add to the salability and curb appeal of your property, according to the American Society of Landscape Professionals. An attractive and functional landscape that complements the home and adds function increases value, too.

Mack Strickland of Strickland Appraisal Services, Inc., in Chester, Va., pegs patio recovery costs at anywhere from 30% to 60%, depending on the region of the country and material choices. “In general, the less elaborate and costly the improvement, the better your return on investment,” he says.

A $2,000 investment in a 12-by-12 foot brick patio, therefore, might roughly return an average of $900 at resale.

Here’s how to assess whether a patio makes economic and functional sense for your yard.

Study your lot

Get to know the characteristics of your yard. Watch patterns of light throughout the day to determine patio sites best suited for most shade, sun, or a combination of both. Also consider convenient access to the house, especially from the kitchen or family room, for seamless entertaining and maximum usage.

Evaluate locations that offer privacy from neighbors. Also determine a realistic size for a patio. Estimate the number of people you typically entertain and make sure there is enough space for them to maneuver.

Envision furniture and other future amenities, such as grills and service bars. Be careful not to skimp. A 12×12-foot patio should be roomy enough for a dining table and chairs for six people, with plenty of room for a 42-inch wide grill, according to David McCullough, a landscape architect in San Diego.

Lastly, consider your lot’s grade and how best to deal with any slope issues. Sometimes adding steps leading to a flatter, lower level is a less expensive alternative than re-grading or adding fill. Building two smaller patios rather than one larger expanse can keep costs for contouring your yard to a minimum.

Check neighborhood restrictions and permits

Become familiar with current setback requirements, zoning concerns, neighborhood covenants, homeowner association CC&R’s (codes, covenants, and restrictions), and local building regulations and permits. These are available by visiting your city’s local planning department or website.

“When evaluating your yard, take into account any possible obstructions,” notes Chris Fenmore, principal with Southern California-based Garden Studio Landscape Design. “This may include existing or old irrigation or drainage lines, or live electrical, gas, and sewer lines. If needing to navigate over these, it’s important to hire a professional.

“Also, before starting construction, enlist your local (free of charge) ‘dig alert’ agency that will mark important underground utility lines,” stresses Fenmore. In some locales, “call before you dig” telephone numbers are listed at the beginning of the phone directory. In most U.S. regions, you can begin the process by calling the national underground utility hotline at 8-1-1.

Determine your budget

Expect to pay $1,500 to $2,500 for a professionally installed, 12×12-foot concrete patio. This includes removal of obstructions, such as shrubs and old walkways, miscellaneous cleanup costs, and the cost of the concrete and installation at $8 to $12 per square foot. To add stone or brick, figure a total of $15 to $20 per square foot.

“While demolition costs may differ slightly depending on the lot, there is always some form of removal that takes place, whether it be an existing patio, obstructions on the land, or just leveling of an area for a flat surface,” says Fenmore.

Because 40% to 60% of the cost of a professionally installed patio is labor, do-it-yourself homeowners can expect to save hundreds of dollars, depending on materials. You’ll realize substantial savings even after paying $300 to $500 for a dumpster that holds roughly 10 yards of debris.

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Lone Tree Patio Home: Freestyle Living!

The Enclave in Heritage Hills a lifestyle of freedom. This property is perfect for those seeking an active carefree lifestyle, Continue reading

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ICE CREAM Social Wednesday for wildfire victims

Come cool down at the 15th annual Ice Cream Social Wednesday, July 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Civic Green Park in Highlands Ranch. Purchase a wrist band for $2 and get all-you-can-eat ice cream donated by Safeway and snow cones. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross to help Colorado wildfire victims.

Guests can enjoy live entertainment and buy food and drinks. Littleton Fire Rescue will have equipment on display and there will be booths featuring local vendors. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Free parking is available in the Highlands Ranch Town Center and in the RTD park-n-Ride.

Civic Green Park is located at 9710 Ridgeline Blvd., next to the Highlands Ranch Library. The Ice Cream Social is sponsored by Safeway, the Highlands Ranch Metro District and Littleton Fire Rescue.

Posted in Castle Rock, Centennial, Colorado, Denver, Denver Realtor, Englewood, Fun things to do, General Real Estate, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Uncategorized, | Leave a comment

Compare Denver Neighborhoods – or – Location Location Location

LOCATION MATTERS – Real Estate is LocalHow “Denver” is doing may not mean as much to you as how your house compares to the one down the street! Sometimes we can get caught up in the hype of how well our local real estate market might be doing.  Sometimes a little analysis might explain why it is important for you to have experience on your side.Your market and your home need more of a laser beam approach to determining its value than a broad brush like the above. A professional, full time real estate broker (that’s me!) can help you determine what your home is “worth” compared to what else has sold in your neighborhood. Yet I have a different job than an appraiser. Appraisers report “history”. Realtors take that same history of home sales,  interpret that data and add what we know of the market trends in that neighborhood.  And just as the above indicators are different for each MLS area, they are also different in The Enclave versus Glen Eagles or the Retreat, The Hearth or Northridge, Founders Village or Castle Pines Village,  The Hills or Palos Verde. In short, your home and neighborhood are unique. You need someone who can discern the top price you can expect. Real Estate Values are local.

Your Realtor also has to be a detective, be able to “read” people, understand & explain motivations, love the art of marketing, know how to negotiate, & then be able to explain contracts and the entire process. And he has to earn your trust.

You can check my standards at Pete Doty’s standards

For more on CMAs go to:

From me you will get the truth, To make good, solid, informed decisions.



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Stapleton Town Loft on Syracuse in Denver

Town home loft in Stapleton

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Hire a Realtor to Sell(?) your home

Only you can sell it, think actually sign the contract to buy and sell. The Realtor is there to “MARKET” your home for you; if you will, to get enough folks through the door that one of them likes it enough to want to buy it and take the time to write up an offer.

You get to decide if you like that offer, or want to counter it, or reject it.

An experienced Realtor will know where the market is, both financially and demographically. That is who you hire. And there are other considerations too, such as taxes, estates, divorce, kids, etc. Sometimes, it is not about the money, but rather being able to get someplace else quickly.

It is not enough to just have a real estate license. Experience pays huge dividends sometimes just in stress relief.


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Appraisals in Denver

With the price of homes edging up about between 5 & 10 percent in Denver this year, the appraisal is becoming the most contentious item in the home selling and buying process.
Why? The appraisers are scared of loosing their licenses due to bad appraisals.
Yet the Sellers want more for their home.
The only thing to do is to make sure there is an experienced Realtor to represent the Seller’s interests and to present the appraiser with quality comparable sales. Tenure in the real estate business means alot too.
Call me at 303-880-5585 to talk about your needs.

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Memorial Day

If you served, THANK YOU.
If you know someone who served, Thank them.
If you know someone who lost someone, God Bless them both!
Thank you vets.
You went so the rest of us did not have to.
Thank you John R Doty Jr, Wells B. Doty, Al Blakeslee, Porter Rathburn and all the rest that have touched my life.

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Denver Real Estate Market Update May 2012

Denver Realtor talks about homes for sale and finding someone to trust

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