Archives: Featured Company

Thinking of buying a home in Boulder? Here’s what you need to know

If you follow real estate at all in Colorado, you’ve surely caught wind of the meteoric rise of property values in the Boulder area. The city is certainly a different place than it was when I was attending graduate school! And so with the start of a new year, I thought I’d reach out to one of Boulder’s leading realtors for some insight on where the market may be going. I spoke with Danielle Davis of First Summit Realty and asked her a handful of key questions…

[Ryan] First off, can you tell us a little about First Summit Realty; the company’s beginnings and how you’re different?

[Danielle] Great question! Before I started First Summit Realty, I was part of a top-producing team in Colorado. After many years of working with them, I made a decision that I wanted to focus on quality, not quantity. So, I opened a brokerage that was customer-centric. I wanted everything we did to focus on doing the absolute best for our customers. And we’ve accomplished that!

We are literally obsessed with excellence in all that we do. Although we do significant volume, clients are not numbers to us. We spend considerable time getting to know our clients’ goals, personal situations, timelines, and needs. These days, your choice of realtor really matters. There are lots of pitfalls that buyers and sellers can encounter in a real estate transaction. Our market knowledge, contract negotiation, and our award-winning customer service are second to none. Our most important goal is to create raving fans with each transaction. That’s the metric by which we measure our success.

We all know that home prices in Denver and Boulder have really increased in recent years. Are we in a bubble? Or is the landscape relatively stable?

I get asked this one a lot. The wild appreciation that we’ve seen over the last few years has really been a product of supply and demand. The year 2016 marked the lowest inventory (fewest homes on the market) since 2005. Additionally, we’ve seen a large number of people jumping into the market due to historically low interest rates. Couple that with the increase in job creation, especially in high paying sectors. Plus now, it’s possible for first time home buyers to purchase a home due in part to loan programs with down payments as low as 3.5%. It makes for a competitive seller’s market which allows for a rapid increase in pricing.

Looking forward, it seems 2017 is showing some indications of stabilizing. The biggest unknown is what inventory levels will look like. The increasing interest rates will likely be the catalyst for many to make the move they’ve been putting off. Whatever lies ahead, it’s going to be an exciting year in real estate!

What market do you think has the greater potential in the next five years: Boulder or Louisville/Lafayette?

All three of the markets you mentioned behave very differently. The market in Boulder exists in its own bubble in many ways. For the first time this year, the average price of a home in Boulder went above the one million dollar mark. For that reason, Boulder has become unattainable for many homebuyers. That has created an eastward migration to both of the other towns you’ve mentioned – Louisville and Lafayette. Louisville has seen rapid appreciation for many years in a row now. Year-to-date, single family homes in Louisville have appreciated a whopping 17%. Lafayette is also seeing very healthy appreciation with single family homes appreciating 9%, year-to-date. The numbers suggest that Lafayette has the most room for appreciation in the upcoming years.

What are three key tips you can provide to anyone looking to buy their first home?

I love this question! We teach a first time home buyers course, so I have a lot to say on the matter. For the purpose of the interview, I’ll try to limit my response. There are a few things that I think are really important. One, find a great local lender. Too many times I’ve seen buyers get into a jam by going with the wrong lender. It can result in added stress, delays, and/or putting your earnest money at risk.

Second, pick a great realtor. I know this sounds like self-promotion, but it’s really not. For many, buying a home is the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make. There’s a lot on the line. It’s imperative to choose someone with an understanding of the market and who will represent your best interests.

Just remember, home buying should not be stressful, it should be a fulfillment of a dream.


Check out First Summit Realty online, here.


Pink Diamond Events – a Fort Collins gem

A few weeks back, I discovered an event planning company located in my hometown of Fort Collins called Pink Diamond Events. Casey Muller, owner and Lead Event Planner, is an industry veteran in the area and she has been planning weddings since 2009.

I had a cup of coffee with Casey to talk shop and it became clear very quickly that her level of service and quality in her event planning is a perfect fit for what we do here at BE.

Therefore, I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to ask her a handful of good questions and publish the interview here. We are always on the lookout for Colorado’s (and Arizona’s) finest wedding vendors, and I’m pleased to say that Pink Diamond Events certainly qualifies!

[Ryan] How did you get your start in the industry?

[Casey] I started working in the industry by working with a wedding planner in Southern California when I lived out there. I started working as one of her Day-of wedding assistants. When we moved back to Colorado, I worked as the wedding coordinator for an independent catering company in Vail, working on high end weddings at private residences, ranches and other various mountain venues. From there I worked for a Fort Collins hotel in their catering department and then finally worked as the full service wedding planner for a local wedding planner in Fort Collins. Unfortunately, her company went out of business and I then proceeded to open my own company in 2009. Since then I have established my status as the veteran wedding planner in Northern Colorado and Estes Park!

What do you enjoy most about being a wedding planner?

My favorite perk of the job is getting to see all the amazing wedding venues in Colorado. I am so lucky to work in such a fun and exciting industry that allows me to travel throughout the state! There are some amazing venues that expose you to new design ideas and styles. It’s really great to have the opportunity to be creative and stretch my talents to benefits my clients.

Can you describe your own personal wedding style for us?

For my own personal wedding style, I prefer a more modern approach. I love the look of clean lines and contemporary design. I find that I am drawn to neutral color pallets, but that have a pop of color to bring some wow factor into the picture. I also love dramatic lighting and adding statement pieces to a wedding. It’s a great way to add a bit of wow without going overboard (and staying on budget!).

What is one thing you tell all your couples?

Something that I always tell my brides is that once they have a vision and a direction, it’s time to stop messing around on Pinterest! There are so many options out there a bride can waste hours going back and forth about a decision she made or trying to incorporate every cute idea she has seen. Find your vision that fits your personality and style and then stop looking! It will only drive yourself crazy and you won’t make any progress actually planning your wedding!

Also make sure to hire professionals. We’ve all heard the sayings “you get what you pay for” and “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Well, the same thing goes for hiring your wedding vendors. This is going to be the biggest party you’ll ever host, and while it doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank for it, if you’re getting quotes from vendors, just realize that the cheapest isn’t always the best option. I have seen it time and time again when the wedding is over, the bride wishes she would have invested in a quality vendor instead of going with the cheapest one, and you are not able to ever get that back.

Contact information

Website: Pink Diamond Events

And learn more about the team here.

Email: or via the contact form here.

Phone: 970-692-1645

Ashley Kidder wedding photography

This week I’m profiling a very talented wedding photographer, Ashley Kidder. If you take a look around her website, you may start to feel like you’ve seen her work before. And you probably have, on the BE website! She has been helping us out for a long time now. From Union Station to Boulder to Denver photo shoots, Ashley has been taking excellent photos in a range of conditions.

So, for those of you shopping around for a wedding photographer – or if you think you might be in a couple of months 🙂 – here’s my recent interview with Ashley.

1. How would you describe your particular approach to wedding photography? What makes you different?

I don’t want you to feel like we’re taking photos. Being in front of the camera can be intimidating and make people feel uncomfortable, so I strive to make it as fun as possible. Keep it light, organic and breezy. My number one priority is for you to enjoy yourself in front of my camera; once I can achieve that, the photos will follow. Your positive experience with me is of the utmost importance.

2. What kinds of things can a groom do to look his best in his wedding photos? Any common mistakes that grooms are making in your experience?

Hands-down, a custom suit or a tailored suit is the best thing a groom can do to immediately up his wedding fashion game. Too often I see rental tuxes that don’t quite fit right — either they’re too baggy, too short, or boxy. Opt for a custom suit and you can rock it years after the wedding.

3. When searching for a wedding photographer, what are the important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

To circle back to the first question, your experience with your wedding photographer should be overwhelmingly positive, fun, and one of the top reasons you decide to hire them. Denver is ripe with incredible photographers with styles that span from moody-and-filmy to light-and-airy to clean-and-crisp; the talent this area sees is unlimited. Out of all the vendors you hire, your photographer will be the one you’ll spend the most time with on the day of the wedding. For that reason alone, couples should prioritize how they feel about their photographer not only as a wedding vendor but as a person. Like I said before — once you have that relationship nailed down with your photographer, the beautiful photos will come easily afterwards.


Reach out to Ashley directly at or via her company website here.

Phone: 303-915-1226

Dionne Event Productions, featured Scottsdale event planner

So, one of my current projects is building a wedding guide for those of you that live in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. What I’m trying to do is find the absolute best wedding vendors in the area, the ones that reflect the level of quality in service and product that you’ve come to expect from BE. And so today, I interviewed Dionne Washington, senior planner and owner of Dionne Event Productions and Dionne Design.

I asked her three key questions that I think a lot of you grooms (or soon to be grooms!) have on your mind when it comes to shopping around for an event planner.

1. [Ryan] Can you tell us a little bit about Dionne Event Productions? What makes your approach to event planning different?

[Dionne] Dionne Event Productions was founded by Dionne Washington January 4, 2016. In July of the same year, Dionne Design was born. Dionne Event Planning is our wedding and event planning service. Dionne Design is our floral, linen and event décor service.

Since our doors opened, Dionne Event Planning (DEP for short) has helped plan and coordinate over 15 weddings in just one short year. Being a new company, that speaks wonders about the confidence our clients had in me and in my team.

What makes us different is that our approach to our clients is service based. We remind them that we are at their service to take care of all of the planning that a successful event requires. Planning a wedding should be fun, not stressful! So we remind clients that hiring a wedding planner is so important and so valuable because they don’t have to worry about the detailed and very meticulous tasks that we actually delight in.
We also offer in-house floral design. This is a rarity and can be challenging to master in addition to wedding planning. But I am confident in my floral design capabilities as I love to meet with my brides, find out what it is that they want to experience and make their design vision come to life.

2. You’ve clearly planned a lot of weddings to date, what was one that really stood out and why?

Thank you. Yes I have had my hand in event planning even before I founded DEP. One wedding that stood out to me was a couple that wanted a flower wall. At the time, I didn’t have any floral experience and my florist on this particular wedding quoted them an amount they just couldn’t see themselves paying. Well, it just so happened that I wanted to learn about floral design and I was going to a workshop that was teaching you how to do flower walls. So with the blessing of the florist that was assigned to that wedding we gave it a shot! With the help of volunteers and family members we were able to create an amazing flower wall. It was at that wedding I knew that I wanted to expand my capabilities as a floral designer. Since then, I have booked several weddings as a planner and floral designer.

3. When searching for an event planner, what are the most important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

When a couple is searching for an event planner, some of the most important qualities that a couple should be looking for are:

1. How many weddings have they planned?

2. Do they have references or reviews on websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire since those reviews can only be made by real couples who booked the planner and reviewed the planner after their event.

3. You want a planner that listens well and makes sure that their main focus is to make your planning experience a fun and stress free experience!

Contact information

Reach out to Dionne directly at or via her company website here.

Dionne Event Productions phone number: 480.269.3379