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

We started a video blog!

Big news everyone, BE has launched its first video blog!

If you follow BE, you know that we offer a lot of content via our various channels, specifically, this blog.

We’re realizing that we offer up a lot of text, but that maybe video can offer you something else. However, and I want to be very clear on this, that we will continue to blog in text form and give you some great interviews and style advice, just as we have always done. In addition, we will be providing some great videos to help show you what we’re talking about.

So, below is the first installment of what we’re calling the Daily BE. You can watch our videos here on the blog when we post them, otherwise, you’ll see everything up on our YouTube channel.

We’re super excited about these videos. I think that this series is something that can really grow and be a great medium with which to talk about men’s style. We will keep it casual, I’ll have some guests from time to time, do some interviews, etc, all with the aim of providing you with some real value – a quick dose of style that you can apply right away.

And these videos will be relatively short, I’m aiming for between three and five minutes. We’ll post every weekday.

Overall, we want to show you something that you haven’t seen before. At BE we know that we have the talent to really give you a great experience, and that’s what we intend on doing. I hope that we can teach you something new. I want you to ask us questions and to get involved.

Personally, I’m really excited to start this new endeavor. We will continue to do everything we can to help you become the best dressed version of yourself!

How to dress for the New Year’s Eve party

men's style for new year's eve

Are you ready to ring in 2017?! New Year’s Eve is tomorrow and if you’re going out to celebrate, we wanted to offer up some guidance on dressing to impress. So, whether you’re in the Denver area or in Scottsdale, here are some tips on how to dress for the new year’s eve party.

Wear a sportcoat

The single best way to dress dapper this year is to wear a jacket, be it a sportcoat or a dark suit. The key is just to wear a jacket. Why? Aside from looking suave you have pockets! Fill your chest pocket with a pocket square and your side pockets with some kazoos.

However, it’s important to wear the right jacket. As you are well aware, the ball drops at midnight, so that means evening attire. Your sportcoat should be nice and dark. No tans, greys, or light blues. You don’t want to look like you just got out of a meeting.

Add a pocket square

Even if you’re the kind of guy that rarely wears a pocket square, now is your chance. The louder the better. And don’t fret about folding it. If there’s one thing that us guys tend to overthink, it’s how to stuff a piece of colored fabric into our pocket. Just stuff it in there in a way that makes you happy and head out the door.

If you’re on a budget, try Nordstrom’s Rack. They tend to carry a handful of decent pocket squares between $5 and $10.

Skip the neck tie

In recent years, the necktie has really fallen out of popularity. And while that may be a sad thing, depending on where you stand on the issue, New Year’s Eve is certainly a time to loosen up and go open collar. Plus, if you don’t normally wear a tie, I don’t think New Year’s Eve is a good time to start.

how to dress for your new year's eve party

Wrap up

This year, I hope you decide to up your style game. It’s easier than you think to figure out how to dress for the New Year’s Eve party. Just adopting one of the above tips will turn some heads 🙂


A class cocktail for a new year

Thinking of pulling off a T-shirt and sportcoat combo? Read this article on Scottsdale style first.