California Adventures


Well, we’ve been here almost a week now and I think both Armani and I have settled in quite nicely. I have had three lessons with Kathleen Raine and just LOVE what I am learning. I thrilled that Armani is accepting his new training and the level of work as well.
There are amazing bridle paths and hiking trails throughout this community. I took what I thought was a 2 mile loop hike yesterday and ended up hiking more like 6-7miles. While I was tired, it was all good as I so enjoyed the scenery and weather.
That said, today is wet and chilly. However, I am taking Armani on a “hike” today on one of the bridle paths just across the street from the stable. We are hand walking the first time as he can be pretty spooky. Dogs rushing fences and barking etc may cause some drama, but he’ll get over it. So, today, we walk it together. Then hopefully ride it in the near future.
Next week the weather is getting quite a bit warmer so hopefully I can actually wear short sleeves versus a jacket.
There is only one way in and out of the La Cresta community, so it’s easy to forget that I’m only about 15 minutes from a large urban area. Taking Mike to the airport was a wake up call for sure. I am getting a bit used to the traffic and “rampant” commercialism. It was a bit of a culture shock as we got closer to LA when driving here.
There is so much to do for entertainment within an 60-90 minute drive, but for now, I’m enjoying my “little nest”, the beautiful trails and my horse.
More later.
Andria

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California, Here we Come!

While I usually blog something relating to real estate or the Northern Colorado area, I have decided to share a personal “adventure” instead.

I feel very fortunate to be in La Cresta, CA (near Temecula) until the end of March with my Horse, Armani. We will be training with Kathleen Raine, a two time US Olympic team alternate.

My wonderful husband was my co-pilot and navigator over the last three days driving with the Horse from Longmont, CO to LaCresta, CA.

He found a beautiful VRBO for me to stay in just 2 miles from the stable. I can be at the barn with the Horse almost all day for the next month. This is manna for horse lovers!

This area has lots of hiking and biking trails as well. I have brought my trusty mountain bike for some riding other than Horse riding.

We just arrived yesterday and my husband flew back to CO this morning, I have stocked the fridge, cleaned the car, and now off to the barn to spend time with Armani.

I must add that this is the first long trip with both my Horse and my Ford F-150 eco truck. Both did super well. The truck surprised both Mike and I. We were towing almost 8000 pounds and Billie Jean (the truck] drove like a champ.

More later once I’ve settled in and had my first lesson with Kathleen.

Some photos of where I am staying:

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Proposed initiative to limit new housing on Front Range ignites fears in real estate industry

We constantly hear about housing costs and shortfalls along the front range.  All of us are effected by it in some way.  Rents are increasing as well. Traffic is increasing. But, what is the answer – if there even is one.  I thought I’d share the article below with all of you.  This measure, if passed, will definitely effect housing prices.

We have also been assured that interest rates will rise this year.  These two factors will definitely effect housing affordability.

Andria Allen

_______________________________________________________

Proposed initiative to limit new housing on Front Range ignites fears in real estate industry

 

By ALDO SVALDI | asvaldi@denverpost.com | The Denver Post

PUBLISHED: February 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm | UPDATED: February 8, 2018 at 9:09 am

A ballot measure to cap home and apartment construction along Colorado’s Front Range is undergoing a formal state review, setting off alarm bells with real estate agents and homebuilders.

“This will bring our economy to a halt. You don’t bring affordability to a market by reducing supply,”  Scott Thorson, the chief operating officer at Oakwood Homes, said at the Colorado Association of Realtors’ Economic Summit on Wednesday in Denver.

Ballot initiative No. 66, which is awaiting a review from the Colorado Supreme Court, would limit permits for homes and apartments to 1 percent of the existing housing stock in 2019 and 2020 in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld counties.

Proposed ballot initiative would limit new housing construction in 10 Colorado counties

KMGH – Denver, CO

After two years, the caps would remain in place unless 5 percent of the voters in a jurisdiction put a successful initiative to a vote. Denver, Douglas and Weld counties, which have seen new construction rates above 2 percent, could face some of the most severe reductions under the measure.

Matthew Leprino, a broker-owner of Leprino Homes in Denver, said the measure, if passed, would have devastating consequences in an already constrained market. He urged the crowd of mostly real estate agents to join CAR in opposition.

“Support the fight against it,” he said.

housing study from Shift Research Labs estimates that metro Denver faces a shortfall this year of about 32,000 homes and apartments due to inadequate construction.

That shortage is driving up homes prices and apartment rents above income gains, fueling inflation and straining finances. Households making under $50,000 a year are collectively spending $2 billion more a year than if supply and demand had stayed in balance, the study estimates.

Builders at Wednesday’s summit said communities need to be looking for ways to make it easier to add lower-cost housing, such as permitting higher density development and reducing impact fees.

But concerns over overcrowding due to population growth also are on the rise. A measure in Lakewood to limit new construction to 1 percent of the housing stock gained enough signatures this summer to make the ballot there before running into legal challenges.

Thorson said while the days of being able to build a new single-family home for under $200,000 are long gone, Oakwood Homes is making a concerted push to bring its average price point under $350,000. Last year, it got it to $365,000.

If the caps were approved, the Front Range would see 26,050 fewer homes and apartments constructed over the two-year period, representing a loss of $7.8 billion in activity and a 10 percent reduction in construction employment, according to an analysis by Chris Brown, director of policy and research with Colorado REMI Partnership, submitted to the Colorado Legislative Council.

Brown said REMI studied the Lakewood limits, but whatever growth might have been blocked there could shift to other cities. If the entire Front Range is limited, that would restrict housing supply in the region seeing almost all of the state’s population growth and push that growth outward.

Daniel Hayes, who is with the Denver Futures Committee, and Wheat Ridge resident Julianne Paige are behind the initiative.

Hayes was behind Golden’s growth limitation measures passed in mid-1990s.  Efforts to reach him and Paige before deadline were unsuccessful.

 

Do More 2018

 

2017 was a great year, but this year at WK Real Estate, we want to do more than ever before. That’s why 2018 will be our year, it will be our time.#DoMore2018

The Best Homeowners Insurance

The best homeowners insurance providers have the perfect mix of financial strength, coverage options, and customer service to keep you satisfied no matter where you are in the claims-filing process. Below are our top picks — we encourage you to use our tool to compare multiple rates and find the best fit for you.

If you’re new to home insurance, you might be surprised to learn it’s not just protection for the physical structure of your home, or even everything in it. Homeowners insurance policies also include liability coverage if you’re sued for damages or injuries to someone else — say your dog bites your neighbor or someone slips on your front steps. Between these two coverage types there are tons of options: You can raise or lower the dollar limits, choose how to set the replacement value of your possessions, and add on coverages.If it’s starting to sound like you won’t know where to start, you’re not alone: A 2013 study by Marshall & Swift/Boeckh found that 60 percent of US homes are underinsured. That means the majority of homeowners are at a greater financial risk than they need to be because they don’t know what kind of coverage they should get.To help you understand how to properly insure your home and choose a provider, we vetted financial strength, compared policy types, and evaluated customer satisfaction for the most popular insurance companies. You’ll want to compare quotes between several providers and choose one that offers discounts and coverage for your particular circumstances. Variables like your home’s age and construction, security features you use, animals and recreation on your property, and your personal credit history can all affect which company will offer you the best coverage.

We ranked the nation’s largest providers based on their customer service, coverage, financial strength, discounts, and endorsements. Our three favorites stood out for their exceptional offerings on all levels. Allstate has the best online servicing, with its ample guides and tools that provide invaluable and comprehensive information. It also offers a ton of discounts, with unique price cuts for new customers. Amica earned the highest rating in customer service and in unique savings available for paying online and remaining a loyal customer. State Farm will help you design an extremely detailed online quote and offers discounts for recently renovated homes.

Our Picks for Best Homeowners Insurance Companies

    • Allstate

Best for New Homebuyers

    • Amica

Best Customer Service

    • State Farm

Most Personalized Online Quote

    • Nationwide

Most Endorsements

    • MetLife

Best Replacement Coverage

    • Travelers

Best for Green Homes

    • Safeco

Unique Bundled Deductible

    • Progressive

Best for Boat Owners

    • GEICO

Strongest Financial Outlook

10 things you need to know about the new tax law

Article by BILL BISCHOFF

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act was passed by Congress and will be signed by President Trump. The final bill reflected some compromises and is substantially different than the earlier House and Senate bills. The new law includes many expected changes, some unexpected ones, and some changes that were expected but didn’t make the cut. Here are the most important things that individual taxpayers need to know.

  1. New individual tax rates and brackets

For 2018 through 2025, the new law keeps seven tax brackets, but six are at lower rates. In 2026, the current-law rates and brackets would return. The temporary rate brackets under the new law are as follows.

Single Joint Head of
household
10% tax bracket  $0 – $9,525 $0 – $19,050 $0 – $13,600
Beginning of 12% bracket $9,526 $19,051 $13,601
Beginning of 22% bracket $38,701 $77,401 $51,801
Beginning of 24% bracket $82,501 $165,001 $82,501
Beginning of 32% bracket $157,501 $315,001 $157,501
Beginning of 35% bracket $200,001 $400,001 $200,001
Beginning of 37% bracket $500,001 $600,001 $500,001

Most folks will benefit from the new rates, but some who are currently in the 33% marginal tax bracket will find themselves in the 35% marginal bracket next year. This unfavorable change will mainly affect singles and heads of households with taxable income between $200,000 and $400,000. However, the new lower rates on income below $200,000 will offset some or all of the negative effect of being in the 35% marginal bracket. For comparisons, see the table at the bottom of this story for the 2017 rate brackets.

Year-end planning impact: Most individuals will benefit from year-end planning moves that push income into next year and pull deductions into this year.

  1. No change in taxes on long-term capital gains and dividends

The new law retains the existing 0%, 15% and 20% tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends. For 2018, the rate brackets are as follows.

Single Joint Head of
household
0% tax bracket  $0 – $38,599  $0 – $77,199 $0 – $51,699
Beginning of 15% bracket $38,600 $77,200 $51,700
Beginning of 20% bracket $425,800 $479,000 $452,400

Year-end planning impact: These brackets are almost the same as what they would have been under old law, with the only change being in the way the inflation adjustment for 2018 is calculated. Therefore, the traditional year-end tax planning strategies for securities held in taxable brokerage firm accounts still apply.

  1. No mandatory FIFO stock basis rule

Starting next year, the Senate version of the tax reform bill would have forced you to use the first-in-first-out (FIFO) method to calculate the tax basis of shares that you sell from taxable accounts. If the price of the shares stair-stepped higher as you bought them, having to use the FIFO method would have meant that your taxable gain would be figured by treating the oldest and cheapest shares as being sold first. That would maximize your gain and maximize the resulting tax hit. Fortunately, this proposed change didn’t make the cut, so it’s business as usual.

Year-end planning impact: None. You need not sell shares before year-end just to avoid the now-discarded mandatory FIFO stock basis rule. Good!

  1. Higher standard deductions, but no more personal and dependent exemption deductions

The new law almost doubles the standard deduction amounts, starting in 2018. However, personal and dependent exemption deductions, which would have been $4,150 each for 2018, are eliminated. Obviously, these changes will benefit some taxpayers and harm others. If you have many dependents, you may not be pleased. The 2018 standard deduction amounts are as follows.

  • $12,000 for singles (up from $6,350 for 2017)
  • $24,000 for joint-filing married couples (up from $12,700)
  • $18,000 for heads of households (up from $9,350)

Additional standard deduction amounts for the elderly and blind are still allowed.

  1. New limits on deductions for state and local taxes

Under old law, you could claim an itemized deduction for an unlimited amount of personal state and local income and property taxes. You could also choose to forego any deduction for state and local income taxes and instead deduct state and local general sales taxes.

Starting next year, the new law limits your deduction for state and local income and property taxes to a combined total of $10,000 ($5,000 if you use married filing separate status). Foreign real property taxes can no longer be deducted. So no more property tax write-offs for your place in Cabo. However, you can still choose to deduct state and local sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes.

Year-end planning impact: Traditional year-end tax planning advice includes prepaying state and local taxes that would otherwise be due early next year. That way, you get a bigger deduction on this year’s return. However, the new law says you cannot get any tax-saving benefit from using this strategy to prepay state and local income taxes. Specifically, you cannot claim a 2017 deduction for state or local income taxes that are imposed for a tax year beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. How this rule could be enforced is a mystery. The good news: you can still prepay state and local property taxes before year-end and claim a 2017 deduction. That could be a really good idea in view of the new $10,000/$5,000 deduction limitation that takes effect next year. However, if you will be an alternative minimum tax (AMT) victim this year, deductions for state and local property taxes (prepaid or otherwise) aren’t allowed under the AMT rules. So prepaying could do you little or no tax-saving good.

  1. New limits on home mortgage interest deductions

Effective next year, the new law reduces the maximum amount of mortgage debt to acquire a first or second residence for which you can claim itemized interest expense deductions from $1 million (or $500,000 if you use married filing separate status) to $750,000 (or $375,000 if you use married filing separate status). However, this change doesn’t affect home acquisition mortgages taken out under binding contracts in effect before Dec. 16, 2017 as long as the home purchase closes before April 1, 2018.

Also, the old-law $1 million/$500,000 limits continue to apply to home acquisition mortgages that were taken out under the old-law rules and are then refinanced after this year (as long as the refinanced loan principal doesn’t exceed the old loan balance at the time of the refinancing). Starting next year, the new law also eliminates the old-law rule that allowed interest deductions on up to $100,000 of home-equity loan balances.

  1. No change in home sale gain exclusion rules

The new law preserves the valuable break that allows you to potentially exclude from federal income taxation up to $250,000 of gain from a qualified home sale, or $500,000 if you are a married joint-filer. The earlier House and Senate bills both included restrictions on this break, but none of the proposed changes made the cut. So it’s business as usual. Good!

  1. Expanded medical expense deduction for 2017 and 2018

The House version of the tax reform bill would have killed the itemized deduction for medical expenses. Instead the new law preserves the deduction and actually expands it to cover medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2017 and 2018 (the old-law deduction threshold for 2017 was 10% of AGI).

Year-end planning impact: Since it is now easier to exceed the percent-of-AGI deduction threshold, consider loading up on elective medical expenses, such as vision care and dental work, between now and year-end if that would net you a bigger 2017 deduction.

  1. Education tax breaks preserved

The new law leaves existing education-related tax breaks in place.

Year-end planning impact: If your 2017 AGI allows you to qualify for the American Opportunity higher-education tax credit (worth up to $2,500 per qualifying undergraduate student) or the Lifetime Learning higher-education tax credit (worth up to $2,000 per tax return and covering most postsecondary education expenses including graduate school), consider prepaying tuition bills that are due in early 2018 if that would result in a bigger credit on this year’s Form 1040. Specifically, you can claim a 2017 credit for prepaying tuition for academic periods that begin in January through March of next year.

  1. Other important changes and non-changes
  • Starting next year, you will not be able to reverse the conversion of a traditional IRA into a Roth account. Under the old-law rules, you had untilOctober 15of the year after an ill-advised conversion to reverse it and avoid the conversion tax hit. At this point, it is not clear if this change would prevent you from reversing a 2017 conversion by 10/15/18or if would only prevent you from reversing a conversion done in 2018 and beyond. So if you have a 2017 conversion that you already know you want to reverse, get it reversed before year-end to be on the safe side.
  • Unfortunately, the new law retains the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT), but the AMT exemption deductions are significantly increased and phased out at much higher income level, starting next year. For many folks AMT exposure was caused by high itemized deductions for state and local income and property taxes and lots of personal and dependent exemption deductions. Those breaks were disallowed under the AMT rules. With the new limits in deductions for state and local taxes, the elimination of personal and dependent exemption deductions, and larger AMT exemption deductions, many previous victims of the AMT will find themselves off the hook, starting next year.
  • Starting next year, the maximum child credit is increased to $2,000 per qualifying child, and up to $1,400 can be refundable (meaning you can collect it even if you don’t owe any federal income tax). In addition, a new $500 nonrefundable credit is allowed for qualified non-child dependents.
  • Starting next year, deductions for moving expenses and most miscellaneous itemized expenses are eliminated.
  • Starting next year, itemized deductions for personal casualty and theft losses are eliminated, except for personal casualty losses incurred in a federally-declared disaster.
  • Starting in 2019, you will no longer be able to deduct alimony payments if they are required by a divorce agreement entered into after12/31/18. Recipients of nondeductible payments won’t have to include them in taxable income.
  • Tax breaks for adoption expenses are preserved.
  • The tax credit for qualified plug-in electric vehicles is preserved. For details on this credit, see: You can get a $7,500 tax credit for a new electric vehicle.
  • Starting next year, the unified federal gift and estate tax exemption will basically double — to about $11.2 million or $22.4 million for a married couple. Wow! That is indeed a tax break for the rich.

The last word

This isn’t really the last word. For the next few months, you will see many more words about other changes in the new law along with more details and analysis and tax planning strategies. My next column will cover the 10 most important changes for small-business owners. So please stay tuned.

Table: 2017 individual federal income tax brackets

Single Joint Head of
household
0% tax bracket $0 – $9,325  $0 – $18,650 $0 – $13,350
Beginning of 15% bracket $9,326 $18,651 $13,351
Beginning of 25% bracket $37,951 $75,901 $50,801
Beginning of 28% bracket $91,901 $153,101 $131,201
Beginning of 33% bracket $191,651 $233,351 $212,501
Beginning of 35% bracket $416,701 $416,701 $416,701
Beginning of 39.6% bracket $418,401 $470,701 $444,551

12 Days of Hiking in Boulder

‘Tis the season to celebrate family, friends and all the good in the world.  Here in Boulder County we’re lucky to have some of the best hikes in the world right at our fingertips.  What better way to enjoy those holiday cookies at the company party guilt free than by going on a scenic hike that’s good for both the body and soul?

1. Royal Arch Trail 

The Royal Arch Trail can be found in Boulder’s Chautauqua park and is one of the most popular routes from this central trail head. At about 0.8 miles in length, the Royal Arch Trail provides gorgeous side views of the flatirons and a vigorous uphill walk.

2. Mt. Sanitas

The Mt. Sanitas Trailhead is located in downtown Boulder at the intersection of 4th and Mapleton. This hike is well known by Boulder locals for its fantastic views and prairie-like scenery. The 3-mile round trip route starts with a steep incline, granting breathtaking views of the city of Boulder and beyond at the summit.  The trail then descends steeply before leveling out for a great cool-down before finishing the trail.  For an easier hike, you can also choose the Dakota Ridge path accessed from the same trailhead.

3. Full Mesa Trail

The Full Mesa Trail is a great option if you’re interested in a longer, more difficult hike.  It’s popular with trailrunners and spans a full 7 miles end-to-end.  Starting from either Chautauqua or the South Mesa trailhead, it’s a great choice if you’re if you’re looking for an extra challenge.

4. Dry Creek

Located off of Baseline road, the Dry Creek Trail is a flat one-mile walk that will take you through grasslands just east of Boulder. This is known to be very dog friendly space and dog walkers populate a large majority of those on the trail. Expect a nice walk alongside a creek and great views of the flatirons!

After Dry Creek5. Marshall Mesa

You can find this hike in South Boulder at the intersection of 93 and Marshall Road. This is a trail of moderate difficulty, also connecting to various trails that go through nearby cities. This trail is also used by mountain bikers and dog walkers, but it’s a great spot to enjoy some of our famous Colorado sun, even in winter!

6. First and Second Flatirons

Boulder is well known for being home to the gorgeous Flatirons, and here you have the opportunity to hike through them. Also found at the Chautauqua trailhead,  this route is a little bit longer than a mile and will take you on an uphill, moderate trek.  Fantastic views await you at the summit!

After Flatirons

7. Boulder Reservoir 

This trail will take you around the shore of the gorgeous Boulder Reservoir. The 5-mile loop runs the full length of the reservior,  and also connects to the Eagle Trail and Coot Lake trails for an extension. This is a great place to bring your dogs or spend some recreational time post-walk.

8. Flagstaff Mountain 

Flagstaff is a popular road in Boulder leading to grand, sweeping views. Instead of driving it, take the hiking trail instead! You’ll find the trailhead where Baseline Road turns into Flagstaff.  It’s a steady incline until the summit and, at over 6,000 feet, also exposes hikers to a higher elevation.  This hike is definitely worth while if you’re interested in great scenery and a challenging workout.

9. Shadow Canyon

The Shadow Canyon hiking trail is a longer hike taking you to South Boulder Peak. This is definitely a challenging trail, but like many other local spots, you can reward yourself with fabulous sights of Boulder’s flatirons. Also, expect to see picturesque wildflowers and streams on your way up, making it an even more enjoyable trip.

10. Dowdy Draw

This hike provides both a walk through open plains and a delightful mountainous backdrop. Dowdy Draw connects to multiple other trails, making this the perfect spot whether you’re in need of a quick walk or a more lengthy expedition. Also favored by mountain bikers, this is definitely one of the most peaceful hikes in Boulder.

11. Greenbelt Plateau 

The Greenbelt Plateau trail is a great pick if you’re looking for a calm hike through the prairie alongside views of the South Boulder Foothills. Connecting to other trails, this can serve as a gateway to explore different parts of Boulder, enabling you to pick your ideal route and length of hike.

12. Bear Peak 

Bear Peak is known to be Boulder’s second highest summit featuring the best 360° unobstructed views of the city. This is difficult three mile hike, so prepare for a tough climb and excellent workout. The Bear Peak summit offers views and scenery definitely worth seeing.

Article by Christina Miroyan, Digital Marketing Social Media Intern at WK Real Estate.