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Real Estate Matters

www.reporterherald.com • Saturday, December 10, 2011 • Reporter-Herald

Is it smart to pay down principal on underwater loan? ILYCE GLINK TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

Q

uestion: I cannot find a straight answer to this anywhere. Is it worth paying extra on the principal on our loan if my home is underwater? We plan to be in the home for at least five more years or until we can sell easily. Right now it seems like throwing good money after bad if it will still take years to gain equity. Would I be better off investing or saving that money now? Separately, are there any underground rumblings or things on the horizon for homeowners that are underwater and don't qualify for HARP or HAMP? I, like thousands of others, don't meet the extremely rigid guidelines because I pay private mortgage insurance. I had heard there might be help coming. Is that true? Answer: You raise a good question on whether you should pay down the principal on your loan if your loan is underwater. The short answer to that question would depend on what your financial situation is and what it will likely be in the future. If your financial situation is strong, and if you had to sell your home for less than you owe on it, would you have the financial means to pay the lender the deficiency from the sale and preserve your high credit score and great credit history? If the answer is yes, you would pay off the lender in full, then paying down your loan would be a hedge against having to come up with that money in the future all at once. If the answer is that you don't have the cash to pay off the lender now and probably won't for years to come, and you would need the lender's permission to go through a short sale, you're probably right in thinking that paying extra toward principal would be throwing good money after bad. If that's the case, you might need the money for home repairs, for current living expenses or for savings for your children's education or your retirement. These are all financial decisions only you can make. If the real estate market in your area recovers to a point where you can sell your home and not have a balance owing to the bank, you'll have done very well. Keep in mind that if you have moral qualms about doing a short sale and asking the lender release from any balance you might still owe on the loan, you can sign a promissory note and agree to repay any deficiency to the bank on an installment basis after the sale of the home. ■ See GLINK/Page E3

Photos courtesy Oakwood Homes The Kendall’s expansive kitchen opens to the dining and great rooms.

for the Take advantage of a special holiday bundle from Oakwood Homes PAID ADVERTORIAL

A

new home may be the last thing on your mind while shopping for friends and family, but Oakwood Homes is looking out for you. To ensure homebuyers

get a gift this holiday, they are offering a Holiday Bundle for anyone that purchases a new Oakwood home at Thompson River Ranch before Dec. 31. With Centerra being a go-to spot for shopping in Northern Colorado, be sure to stop by this Loveland community when you’re done shopping – which is only a couple minutes from Centerra – and treat yourself to a tour of this dynamic community and model homes. Ninety-one families have contracted on homes in Thompson River Ranch this year, proving not all areas

The luxurious kitchen of the Fletcher floor plan.

are troubled in the housing market. It is the fastest growing community in Northern Colorado but Oakwood Homes wants you to end your year with a bang! Through December 31, when you contract on a new Carson Collection home in Thompson River Ranch, you will receive free granite tile countertops, hardwood floors and a finished basement as a part of your Holiday Bundle! The plans in the Carson Collection start as low as $226,400 and this free bundle adds that much more to these luxury homes at affordable prices. An included finished basement means you can get their best-selling Fletcher or Kendall plans for as little as $72/$78 per square foot respectively. The Fletcher includes three bedrooms plus a bonus room, two-and-a-half baths and two-car garage. For larger or growing families, there are choices for up to five bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths giving up to a total of

3,126 finished square feet. There may be snow on the ground, but that only adds to the mountain views this time of year. With all the snow, have some family fun making a snowman or enjoying other winter activities in the acres of open fields and space the community has to offer. You can stop by the sales office at 3831 Heatherwood Circle and pick up a map of the community to make your tour even easier. Tour the nine models and see if a new home could be your treat this holiday season. Dwayne Montoya and Mike Welty can answer your questions this weekend from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and give more nformation about Oakwood’s Holiday Bundle through Dec. 31. From general questions to setting up an appointment, you can call them at 970-669-9801. You can view all the plans, including the special bundled Carson Collection plans, at www.OakwoodHomesCO.com for a preview of your next home!

Exterior of the Fletcher model in Thompson River Ranch.

Buying a home that needs work? Call the experts in FHA 203(k) renovation financing. An FHA 203(k) mortgage allows you to finance both your home purchase and renovation with a single loan. Call now to learn more. Vivian DeVoe, VP Mortgage Banker, NMLS#269876, 970-227-4702 Loans and rates subject to credit approval. Owner-occupied residences only. FHA conditions and restrictions apply.

www.HomeStateBank.com

970-203-6100 Check the license status of your mortgage loan originator at http://www.dora.state.co.us/real-estate/index.htm Think big

Bank small


E2

Saturday Reporter-Herald December 10, 2011

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SUNDAY OPEN HOUSES

Office/Contact:

Phone:

From the $140’s Loveland

43rd St & Wilson Ave 12 Noon-5 PM The Cottages at Enchantment Ridge

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$150,840

NE Loveland

4905 Hahns Peak #104

11 AM-3 PM

RE/MAX Alliance-FTC Downtown, Jeremy Johnson

970-313-6166

$169,900

Loveland

4403 Elliot Pl

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

From $169,900 Loveland

1899 East 11th St.

10 AM-6 PM

Midtown Homes, Boise Village North, Wayne Lewis

970-456-4600

Starting at $195,900

Peakview Meadows 319 East 27th St., Loveland

12 Noon-3 PM Weekends

Century 21 Humpal, Inc., Kurt Albers

970-663-2400

In the $200,00’s Loveland

3890 Drake Court

1-3 PM

Coldwell Banker,Terry Rossi

970-679-8287

$201,990

Loveland

4427 Elliot Pl

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$207,315

Loveland

3441 Foster Pl

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$219,900

Loveland

4478 Hayler Ave

1-4 PM

Cottage Realty

Lots starting at $225,000

Loveland

Warberg Farm at Chapman Reservoir

Lots starting at $225,000

Loveland

$239,000

Berthoud

Kurt Albers & Chris Rampone Century 21 Humpal, Inc. (970)231-1224 Kurt (970)430-0845 Chris www.berthoud.org

GREAT VALUE! DAKOTA GLEN OPEN HOUSE 12 TO 4 THURS.-MON.

Warberg Farm at Chapman Reservoir

SATURDAY OPEN HOUSES Price:

319 E 27th Street, Loveland Peakview Meadows, prices starting at $195,000. 5 models to choose from. Showroom open weekdays and 12-3 pm weekends. 6632400 for an appointment

$300,000 - $399,999 $

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SHOWROOM OPEN

Price:

Location:

Address:

Time:

Office/Contact:

Phone:

From the $140’s Loveland

12 Noon-5 PM 43rd St & Wilson Ave The Cottages at Enchantment Ridge

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$150,840

NE Loveland

4905 Hahns Peak #104

11 AM-3 PM

RE/MAX Alliance-FTC Downtown, Jeremy Johnson

970-313-6166

$169,900

Loveland

4403 Elliot Pl

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

1899 East 11th St.

10 AM-6 PM

Midtown Homes, Boise Village North, Wayne Lewis

970-456-4600

From $169,900 Loveland Starting at $195,900

Berthoud open daily

Peakview Meadows 319 East 27th 12 Noon-3 PM Weekends St., Loveland

Century 21 Humpal, Inc., Kurt Albers

970-663-2400

970-532-5900

$201,990

Loveland

4427 Elliot Pl

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

12 Noon-2 PM

Century 21 Humpal, Inc., Ursula Albers 970-231-0548

$207,315

Loveland

3441 Foster Pl

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

Warberg Farm at Chapman Reservoir

12 Noon-2 PM

Century 21 Humpal, Inc., Ursula Albers 970-231-0548

$210,000

Loveland

225 Harrison Avenue

11 AM-2 PM

RE/MAX Advanced, Dana Goode, Lance 970-231-6507, Volmer 970-218-3016

Loveland

4496 Hayler Ave

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-532-5900

$240,000

SW Loveland

2963 Jill Dr

2-4 PM

RE/MAX Alliance-Loveland, Lanette Spotanski

970-213-3603

$219,900

Loveland

4478 Hayler Ave

1-4 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$249,900

Loveland

2485 FORSYTHIA

10 AM-1 PM

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 970-391-5800 Melissa Doherty

$239,000

Loveland

4496 Hayler Ave

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$249,900

Berthoud

1621 Hollyberry St.

1-3 PM

RE/MAX Alliance-Loveland, Kathy Beadell

970-290-1798

$249,900

Berthoud

1621 Hollyberry St.

1-3 PM

RE/MAX Alliance-Loveland, Kathy Beadell

970-290-1798

$259,500

Greeley

6709 West 21st Street Road

1-3 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Bob Skillman

970-631-2257

$249,900

Johnstown

2803 White Wing Road

1-4 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Stephanie 970-679-8084 Kirkland

$295,065

Windsor

4604 Free Hold Drive

12 Noon-5 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Kristen Specketer

970-280-8097

$295,065

Windsor

4604 Free Hold Drive

12 Noon-5 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Kristen Specketer

970-280-8097

$298,664

Loveland

4355 Ridgway Dr

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-227-3893

$299,000

Loveland open Friday-Saturday

2892 Ariel Drive

1-3 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Georgena 970-481-9801 Arnett

$298,664

Loveland

4355 Ridgway Dr

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$299,900

Loveland

1920 New Hampshire St

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

$299,900

Loveland

1920 New Hampshire St

12 Noon-5 PM

Cottage Realty

970-215-0515

$335,000

Loveland open Friday-Saturday

2890 Carina Drive

1-3 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Georgena 970-481-9801 Arnett

$330,000

NW Loveland

12 Noon - 4 PM

ERA Herman Group NoCo/Glen Marketing

970-663-4522

$339,900

NW Loveland open 3464 Peruvian Torch, Loveland Thurs.-Mon.

12 Noon - 4 PM

ERA Herman Group NoCo/Glen Marketing

1/4 mile west of Wilson on 14th Street/SW/HWY 402 to the Dakota Glen Subdivision

$349,900

Berthoud open Friday-Sunday

103 Common Drive

1-3 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Miki Roth 970-690-9459

$339,900

NW Loveland open 3464 Peruvian Torch, Loveland Thurs.-Mon.

12 Noon - 4 PM

ERA Herman Group NoCo/Glen Marketing

970-663-4522

$383,000

NW Loveland

1/4 mile west of Wilson on 14th Street/SW/HWY 402 to the Dakota Glen Subdivision

12 Noon - 4 PM

ERA Herman Group NoCo/Glen Marketing

970-663-4522

$349,900

Berthoud open Fri.-Sun.

1-3 PM

The Group Inc., Real Estate, Miki Roth 970-690-9459

$383,000

NW Loveland Open 3489 Peruvian Torch, Loveland Thurs.-Mon.

12 Noon - 4 PM

ERA Herman Group NoCo/Glen Marketing

970-663-4522

$383,000

NW Loveland-open 3489 Peruvian Torch, Loveland Thurs.-Mon

12 Noon - 4 PM

ERA Herman Group NoCo/Glen Marketing

970-227-3893

970-663-4522

103 Common Drive

970-663-4522

Enchantment Ridge

NEW NORTHERN COLORADO HOMES

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4496 Hayler Avenue, Loveland 4403 Elliot Place, Loveland

970-532-5900 (*w/ qualifying special financing)

Team Cook at The Cottage Realty


Saturday Reporter-Herald December 10, 2011 E3

Regional Snapshot for Loveland/Berthoud Residential August

September

October

Active Listings Previous Year Active Listings

860 1054

842 1027

807 969

Sold Listings Previous Year Sold Listings

154 102

115 114

117 105

$223,700 $192,000

$209,275 $196,000

Average Days on the Market Previous Year ADOM

107 121

136 122

109 121

Year to Date Listings Sold Previous Year YTD Listing Sold

964 941

1079 1055

1196 1160

Median Sales Price Previous Year Median

GLINK

From Page E1

On your second question, recently the federal government announced a new plan to allow homeowners to refinance their home loans under what is being called HARP 2.0, the new and improved version of the Home Assistance Refinance Program. The old program helped only a fraction of those homeowners that needed assistance. The new program started December 1, 2011, and we will wait and see what this new plan actually does. Our hopes aren't too high. The new plan is supposed to encourage mortgage servicers and the mortgage loan investors to refinance borrowers under certain circumstances. The main purpose of this new plan is to allow people who

$215,000 $211,000

would otherwise qualify to refinance but can't because their home is worth less than the loan amount (called negative equity). Another item of interest has to do with liability. The bank that gave out the original loan to a homeowner may be on the hook for any misrepresentations or other bad practices that may come up with that loan; the new HARP plan attempts to minimize or change the responsibility held by the original lender. However, the rules can get technical, and some lenders may decide that it is not in their best interest to refinance the loan. The government plans don't require lenders to refinance loans; their participation is entirely voluntary. But the government hopes that by reshaping the incentives and changing the penalties, lenders will refinance more loans. The underlying flaw is that most troubled loans have an interest rate that is far above where mortgage interest rates are today.

Mortgage rate update 30-year fixed

This week Last week Trend

3.95%

4.02%

15-year fixed

3.29%

3.37%

5/1 ARM

2.91%

2.93%

Home & Real Estate is produced every Saturday by the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

Wouldn't you think that an investor holding on to an investment that pays 5, 6, 7 percent or more interest today would rather keep that investment than allow it to go away and then have to reinvest those monies at far lower rates? If that's the case, HARP 2.0 will continue to be merely window dressing and fail to achieve the intended results. If a lender believes that its original loans were properly reviewed, with the proper paperwork and appraisals, and is comfortable with its original loan review process, it might not opt for refinancing under the new plan. But if a lender suspects problems with its original loan paperwork, and the new plan gives the bank a way out, it may well allow the refinancing as a way to be absolved of responsibility for the original loan issues. Obviously, one last issue that needs to

Loveland

• Dp Llc from 287 Tech Center Llc, 246 Barberry Pl, Loveland, $225,000, home • Dp Llc from 287 Tech Center Llc, 242 Barberry Pl, Loveland, $50,000, home • Steven Rorabaugh from Ronald Bachali, 2821 Glendevey Dr, Loveland, $237,000, home • Terry & Gina Chaffer from David Diederich, 808 Engleman Pl, Loveland, $490,000, home • Paul & Marci Schwerdtfeger from Fannie Mae, 2002 Chama Ave, Loveland, $145,000, home • Thomas Clinkenbeard from Julie Fiffe, 2591 Eldorado Springs Dr, Loveland, $365,000, home • Interstate Llc from Healy Investment Co, 5815 Rockwell Ave, Loveland, $932,000, home • Brantley Llc from JVJ Leasing Llc, 1016 S Lincoln Ave, Loveland, $180,000, home • Michael & Sheri South from Keirns Construction Co, 1824 Nucla Ave, Loveland, $367,500, home • Kurt Skott from 287 Tech Center Llc, 244 Barberry Pl 3n, Loveland, $300,000, home • Justin & Felicia Houston from Canyon Falls Investments Llc, 936 21st St Sw, Loveland, $166,500, home • Thomas & Audrey Buchalski from Eugene Chan, 5801 Otero Ave, Loveland, $319,900, home • Carol Howden from Ted Harrington, 456 Wrybill Ct, Loveland, $197,000, home • Arlis Schleiger from Pd3 Llc, 1358 Crabapple Dr, Loveland, $350,300, home • Vanessa Timm from Leean Sigle, 4253 Lookout Dr, Loveland, $272,500, home

Berthoud

• Resident from Blue Mount Holdins Llc, 3517 Snowy Egret Ln, Berthoud, $143,000, home

Estes Park

• Janette Lemons from Robin Schneider, 514 Grand Estates Dr Unit E2, Estes Park, $194,000, condo • Roberta Livingston from Michael Woodman, 1533 Lower Broadview Rd, Estes Park, $525,000, home • Jeffrey & Denise Williams from James Dubke, 507 Fall River Ln Unit B, Estes Park, $158,000, condo • Jennifer & Jennifer Davidson from Francis Lassak, 1516 Fish Hatchery Rd, Estes Park, $175,000, home • Patrick & Carleen Quinn from Roberta Livingston, 1180 Lakeshore Dr, Estes Park, $320,000, home

Johnstown

• Tyler & Nichole Witmer from JJ Constr Northern Colo Llc, 260 Basswood Ave, Johnstown, $175,000, home • Jared Weisbrod from JJ Constr Northern Colo Llc, 246 Alder Ave, Johnstown, $174,800, home • Paul & Cailyn Aanonson from Ryland Group Inc, 2757 Blue Acona Wy, Johnstown, $243,100, home • Bryan & Angela Schappell from Saint Aubyn Homes Llc, 283 Sloan Dr, Johnstown, $241,000, home • Adrianne Yost from Saint Aubyn Homes Llc, 259 Sloan Dr, Johnstown, $239,000, home • David Ford from Saint Aubyn Homes Llc, 3407 Holden Ln, Johnstown, $243,600, home

Milliken

• Deanna Cowan from Joseph Armstrong, 2025 Settlers Dr, Milliken, $145,500, home

Windsor

• David Cromley from Tyrone Guerrero, 45 Chestnut St, Windsor, $179,900, home • Joshua & Lindsay Nolting from Aspen Homes Colo Inc, 1973 Cunitiva Ct, Windsor, $407,100, condo • Resident from BK Choice, 2177 Cape Hatteras Dr Unit 269, Windsor, $126,000, condo • Ryden Burns from Prestige Home Llc, 622 Denali Ct, Windsor, $202,000, home • Bruce & Terisa Peck from Trollco Inc, 429 Whitney Hbr, Windsor, $510,000, home • Matthew & John Little from US Bk, 1057 Grand Ave, Windsor, $188,500, home

Foreclosures

• Matthew & Chels Alles from Saint Aubyn Homes Llc, 642 Bighorn Ct, Windsor, $240,900, home • Brent & Jamie Tucker from James Campbell, 8354 Sand Dollar Dr, Windsor, $432,500, home • Jason & Lauren Maines from Peter Jochems, 1682 Leana Ct, Windsor, $1,300,000, home • Mark & Wendy Borgman from Preo Belmont Ridge Llc, 4601 Freehold Dr, Windsor, $263,000, home • Patricia & Wasl Aladsani from Savant Homes Inc, 8360 White Owl Ct, Windsor, $425,400, home • Terry & Sandra Fornes from Sfr 20102 Reo Corp, 8751 Long Peak Cir, Windsor, $57,000, home • Ronald & Tammie Wagner from Sfr 20102 Reo Corp, 8466 Blackwood Dr, Windsor, $45,000, home • Borrower: Lorenzo & Maria Manriquez, Lender: The Bank Of New York Mel-

lon, Amount: $209,918, Property: 585 Mt Massive St, Berthoud, Filed: 11/22/11 • Borrower: Shane Murphy, Lender: Bank Of America Na Successor, Amount: $140,086, Property: 1040 7th St, Berthoud, Filed: 11/22/11 • Borrower: Dirk & Connie Millard, Lender: Flagstar Bank Fsb, Amount: $353,901, Property: 1081 County Road 38, Berthoud, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Serena Scovell, Lender: Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Amount: $721,000, Property: 2231 County Road 42, Berthoud, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Brad Schuman, Lender: Bank Of America Na Successor, Amount: $170,611, Property: 3431 Holden Ln, Johnstown, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Roberto & Nellie Ramirez, Lender: Wells Fargo Bank Na, Amount: $252,993, Property: 716 Jay Ave, Johnstown, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Mark & Corina Foster, Lender: Bank Midwest Na, Amount: $97,721, Property: 5904 Clearwater Dr, Loveland, Filed: 11/17/11 • Borrower: Jack & Susan Hageman, Lender: Security Service Federal Credit, Amount: $318,731, Property: 3508 W Eisenhower Blvd, Loveland, Filed: 11/17/11 • Borrower: John & Gayle Lebsack, Lender: Bank Of America Na Successor, Amount: $106,009, Property: 504 E 50th St, Loveland, Filed: 11/17/11 • Borrower: Joel & Jesus Zuniga, Lender: Midfirst Bank, Amount: $150,308, Property: 2110 Chelsea Dr, Loveland, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Janet Baughman, Lender: Wells Fargo Bank Na, Amount: $69,956, Property: 1511 Adams Ave, Loveland, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Steven & Christine Grimes, Lender: Jpmc Specialty Mortgage Llc, Amount: $115,151, Property: 2229 Albany Ct, Loveland, Filed: 11/22/11 • Borrower: Kristie Sekich & Matthew Jonason, Lender: Citimortgage Inc, Amount: $232,101, Property: 1857 Idalia Ct, Loveland, Filed: 11/22/11 • Borrower: Keith & Jennifer Phillips, Lender: The Bank Of New York Mellon, Amount: $165,555, Property: 3780 Downieville St, Loveland, Filed: 11/22/11 • Borrower: Jose Guzman, Lender: Colorado Housing And Finance, Amount: $154,499, Property: 1762 Eagle Dr, Loveland, Filed: 11/22/11 • Borrower: Erika & Eric Siebenthal, Lender: Bank Of America Na Successor, Amount: $168,464, Property: 403 W 8th St, Loveland, Filed: 11/22/11 • Borrower: Thomas & Linda Holcomb, Lender: Wells Fargo Bank Na,

Advertising: For advertising information, call Dan Grassmeyer. Office: 970-635-3615 Cell: 970-214-6297 E-mail: dgrassmeyer@reporter-herald.com

get hammered out is how to deal with the private mortgage insurance companies. It's unclear at the moment how this issue will get worked out. But wait until mid-December, once more lenders are up and running with HARP 2.0, to contact your lender and begin the conversation.

For more information, call Glink’s radio show at 800-972-8255 on Sundays from 9 to 10 a.m., write to Real Estate Matters Syndicate, P.O. Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or visit www.thinkglink.com.

Real Estate Matters

H&RE Real Estate

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News and Press Releases: The Reporter-Herald welcomes news on hirings, advancements, awards, classes and other information of interest to the real estate and home community. Submit information to jcody@reporter-herald.com.

Amount: $92,311, Property: 609 Broad St, Milliken, Filed: 11/18/11 • Borrower: John Dougherty, Lender: Bank Of America Na Successor, Amount: $167,937, Property: 282 W Cottonwood St, Milliken, Filed: 11/23/11 • Borrower: Michael & Kathleen Fawcett, Lender: Central Mortgage Company, Amount: $208,000, Property: 409 Timber Ridge Pkwy, Windsor, Filed: 11/17/11 • Borrower: Charles & Julie Taulbee, Lender: Jpmorgan Chase Bank National Assoc, Amount: $333,619, Property: 405 Immigrant Trl, Windsor, Filed: 11/17/11 • Borrower: Dianne Andrews, Lender: Wells Fargo Bank Na, Amount: $134,303, Property: 713 Oak St, Windsor, Filed: 11/18/11 • Borrower: Charles & Connie Huddleson, Lender: Bank Of America Na As Successor, Amount: $112,450, Property: 1417 Fairfield Ave, Windsor, Filed: 11/18/11 • Borrower: Jeffrey & Karen Williams, Lender: Jpmorgan Chase Bank National Assoc, Amount: $67,855, Property: 26 Daisy Ct, Windsor, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Kimberly Steffen, Lender: First Horizon Home Loans, Amount: $225,690, Property: 1701 Platte River Dr, Windsor, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Matthew Haskell, Lender: Wells Fargo Bank Na, Amount: $167,589, Property: 135 Bayside Cir, Windsor, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Wayne & Ruth Hupp, Lender: The Bank Of New York Mellon, Amount: $142,099, Property: 1105 Valley Dr, Windsor, Filed: 11/21/11 • Borrower: Robert Keep & Shannon Mcglothlen, Lender: Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Amount: $664,504, Property: 1132 Griffith Ct, Estes Park, Filed: 11/30/11 • Borrower: Scott & Terra Utter, Lender: Flagstar Bank Fsb, Amount: $217,028, Property: 379 Sunmountain Dr, Loveland, Filed: 11/30/11 • Borrower: Jerry & Yvette Johnson, Lender: Midfirst Bank, Amount: $103,172, Property: 330 Sagewood Dr, Loveland, Filed: 11/30/11 • Borrower: Jesus & Cesar Caraveo, Lender: Wells Fargo Bank Na, Amount: $152,006, Property: 201 S Pauline Ave, Milliken, Filed: 11/30/11 • Borrower: Richard & Margaret Wakeman, Lender: Keybank National Association, Amount: $24,693, Property: 305 S Marjorie Ave, Milliken, Filed: 11/30/11 • Borrower: Blain Plantz, Lender: Us Bank Na As Trustee, Amount: $181,867, Property: 142 Bayside Cir, Windsor, Filed: 11/30/11

Sometimes it makes sense to refinance into an ARM MICHELE LERNER BANKRATE.COM

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ow mortgage rates have many homeowners rushing to refinance, and the vast majority of those borrowers opt for fixed-rate home loans. Yet for some homeowners, an adjustable-rate mortgage can be a financially savvy choice. Nowadays, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, appeal to two groups of borrowers. The first group consists of homeowners who need jumbo loans, above the conforming loan limit of $417,000 in most markets and $625,500 in high-cost housing markets. Many of these borrowers want to keep their payments as low as possible when they refinance, so they’re attracted to lower-rate ARMs. The second group comprises homeowners who have firm plans to sell their homes in a few years because of scheduled job transfers or retirement. “The people who are most interested in ARMs tend to have a jumbo loan, but we also see people who know they will sell their home within a few years,” says Bill Kusman, president of mortgages for First Bank, in St. Louis. If your goal is to keep your monthly payments as low as possible and you have a specific time frame for selling your property, an ARM might be the best refinance option. But if the goal is to pay down the loan quickly or to avoid the risk of rising monthly payments in the future, then a fixed-rate loan might be a better choice. The initial rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage tends to be lower than on a fixedrate mortgage. In the third quarter of 2011, the rate on the 5/1 ARM averaged 3.21 percent in Bankrate’s weekly survey; the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.49 percent. On a $100,000 loan at those rates, the principal and interest on the ARM would be $73 less each month. Despite the higher initial payments, about 93 percent of refinance applications in September were for fixed-rate

mortgages, and 7 percent were for ARMs, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Michael Jablonski, executive vice president for BB&T Bank in Wilson, N.C., says ARM applications are relatively rare because borrowers generally want to lock in a fixed rate when mortgage rates are historically low. “Uncertainty about their income, expenses, taxes and the economy have led people to gravitate to fixed-rate mortgages just so that they have one thing that they have certainty about,” Jablonski says. Jablonski says even homeowners who are fairly certain about their plans to sell their home for a job transfer or retirement often choose a fixedrate mortgage because they recognize they may not be able to sell right away. Gail Kullman, a senior loan officer with PrimeLending in Alexandria, Va., says that homeowners need to make sure they fit their mortgage refinance into their overall financial plans. “If your intent is to pay off the house quickly, you may be better off with a short-term loan such as a 10-year or 15year fixed-rate loan rather than an ARM,” Kullman says. “If you are planning to sell the property within a few years or want to retire, then the short-term loan will allow you to build equity faster.” The downside of a shorterterm loan is the monthly payments on the refinance are higher. For example, a $300,000 5/1 ARM at 3.25 percent would have a monthly principal and interest payment of $1,306 for the initial, fiveyear fixed-rate period. A $300,000, 15-year fixed-rate loan at 3.625 percent would have a monthly principal and interest payment of $2,163. Kullman says most lenders require 20 percent equity for a refinance, although some allow 10 percent equity for borrowers with excellent credit and income. If you decide the low monthly payments associated with an ARM are worth the risk when you refinance, Kullman recommends choosing an ARM with a longer term than you think you need.


E4

Saturday Reporter-Herald December 10, 2011

H&RE Real Estate Second homes for retirement have pros, cons MICHELE LERNER BANKRATE.COM

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f you have plans to buy a home at the beach, in the mountains or in the desert for your retirement years, you might be tempted to take the plunge and buy your future home now while interest rates and home prices are low. Financial experts say buying your retirement home five to 10 years before you stop working could be beneficial. However, people in this age group should be aware of the risks of tying up money and perhaps losing flexibility with a second home purchase. “While there’s no denying that we have historically low interest rates and low home values right now, anyone considering buying a second home before they retire needs to run the numbers,” says Kimberly Foss, president of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif. “People get stars in their eyes sometimes at the prospect of retirement, but the reality is that they may not be.” Foss says she recommends clients max out their 401(k)s and make sure they have adequately insured their future before thinking about buying retirement homes. “I recommend that people have 12 months’ (worth) of expenses in the bank as an emergency fund,” Foss says. “If they choose to buy another property, they will need extra money to cover those expenses, too.” For 50- and 60-somethings with plenty of discretionary income, buying a home with cash is an option. Others need financing. There are three basic options for financing a home, says Patrick Cunningham, vice president of Home Savings and Trust Mortgage

LOCAL NEWS AND INFORMATION

in Fairfax, Va. The home can be financed as an owner-occupied home if the buyer lives in it as a primary residence, as a second home or as an investment. Cunningham suggests that financing a property as a second home rather than as an investment property is the better option because interest rates, qualification guidelines and down payment requirements are generally more lenient on second homes than on investments. He says an investment loan always requires a down payment of at least 20 percent or 25 percent. People getting ready to retire might want to consider the benefit of buying homes before they stop working because a mortgage approval could be more difficult to obtain without an income. Foss says one of the primary benefits of buying a home before retiring can be the generation of rental income. Foss says if you can handle the expense and hassle of a rental property, this could be a good way to use the property before it becomes your primary retirement residence. Charles Duck, president of Charles Duck Real Estate in Phoenix, says the pre-retirement buyers he works with are looking for bargain-priced luxury homes because they offer more certainty of future appreciation. “Some people are deciding to buy now and leave the property empty for a while or to use a place as an occasional vacation home,” Duck says. Foss says if you are 10 years or more away from retirement, you may want to opt to rent a vacation home for a month at a time to avoid getting stuck with a permanent decision about your retirement destination.

H&RE Featured Home Plan Aldridge offers ample space ASSOCIATED DESIGNS

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he Aldridge is surprisingly compact for a four bedroom home. Its footprint, measuring a mere 38 feet wide and 40 feet deep, allows it to fit on a small city lot. Another plus factor, if built in close proximity to other homes, is that the plan has no side windows. This feature maximizes privacy. At the same time, numerous windows on the front and rear provide an abundance of natural light throughout. Family living spaces and the owners’ suite fill the lower level. Three more bedrooms and another bathroom are upstairs. Entering, you have two choices: climb the stairs, or go into the living room, which flows on into the dining room and kitchen. A coat closet nestles under the stairs. Designed for efficiency, the C-shaped kitchen makes cooking and clean-up easy. The sink, stove and refrigerator are set in a tight triangle so nothing is more than a few steps away. At the same time, cupboard and counter spaces are quite

ample, wrapping around three sides of the room. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can gaze out the rear window to appreciate the passing seasons, or keep an eye on youngsters at play. The kitchen is also entirely open to the dining room, where sliding glass doors provide patio access. The Aldridge’s owners’ suite has a step-in closet and direct access to a bathroom with combination tub and shower. Laundry appliances and a walk-in storage closet line the passthrough space that connects the house to its two-car

garage. This arrangement comes in very handy for entering safely at night, or unloading groceries in stormy weather. Visit AssociatedDesigns.com for more information or to search our home plans. A review plan of the Aldridge 30-321 including floor plans, elevations, section, and artist’s conception, can be purchased for $25. Our home plan catalog, featuring more than 550 home plans, costs $15. Both are available online, by mail or phone. Add $5 s/h. Associated Designs, 1100 Jacobs Dr., Eugene, OR 97402, (800) 634-0123.

750 W. Eisenhower Blvd., Loveland

669-1234

BUYING OR SELLING? Ron McCrimmon Is Your Local Real Estate Expert.

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970.214.2763

Saddle Notch Road - Loveland Offered at $10,000,000

OPEN SATURDAY 11 1 217 E Michigan Ave, Berthoud

PICKY BUYERS BEWARE! This Lovely Home is sure to please. 3 BR, Wood Floors, Gas F/P, Gourmet Kitchen with steel granite countertops, gas range oven. Oversized 2 car garage,covered front porch. Location! $228,500 | MLS #668687

155 Acres - Estes Park Offered at $2,750,000

DELIVERED

Call Rick Berry 227-0071

rberry@remax.net

OPEN SATURDAY 2 4 P.M. 2963 Jill Drive, Loveland

Phenomenal Mtn Views from full length patio. Remember the 40 days of 90° this summer? Walk out to beautiful built in pool and hot tub. SW Loveland. 3 Bed 2 Bath. Heated 2 gar.Carpet Allowance. MUST SEE! $240,000 | MLS #668211

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Spaciousness & uniqueness from wall to wall. Huge pantry/laundry area, gourmet kitchen with gas range/oven & separate wall oven. Truly gracious living near community pool, frisbee golf & walking trails. $296,000| MLS #666187

$269,900 | MLS #661504

Call Lanette Spotanski

Call Kathy Beadell

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beadell@rmfa.com

970-213-3603

Open House www.1108Shelby.com Berthoud

2+acres lot in Lovely Rainbow Lake Estates. Great location near Berthoud, Loveland & Carter Lake. Open Space & views of the foothills. Home plans? Use your own builder or we can help you find one. $150,000 | MLS #648697

Call Nanci Garnand

Call Nanci Garnand

www.LivingInJohnstown.com

www.LivingInBerthoud.com

622-1846 | 227-1327

622-1846 | 227-1327

Downtown - Loveland Offered at $555,000

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Crescendo Village - Loveland Offered at $499,900

TO FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE

New Construction. Ranch w/ bsmt, 3 bed, 2 baths, Australian cypress hardwood floors throughout, granite, tile and travertine backsplash, 2 1/2 car garage, a/c, fp, much more. Call for builder incentives.

290-1798

Sedona Hills Drive - Loveland Offered at $2,400,000

Indian Creek Ranch - Loveland Offered at $2,000,000

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OPEN OPEN SATURDAY HOUSE 1 3 P.M. 2993 9th Pl Ct SW, Loveland

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Moore Farm - Frederick Offered at $399,900

3918 Heatherwood, Loveland

Great 2 story home with 3 beds including a huge master suite, a/c, large kitchen with upgraded appliances, loft and professionally fenced and landscaped yard! Only 5 years old! Neighborhood pool! $242,000 | MLS #660869

Call Ken Anderson

217-7262

kenanderson@frii.com

3545 Pinewood Ct, Loveland

Phenomenal quality home with 3 beds, large loft, 3 car garage, mountain views and huge deck with firepit & hot tub! Cherry floors & cabinets, granite counters & wine cellar! Neighborhood pool too! $388,000 | MLS #660706

Call Ken Anderson

217-7262

kenanderson@frii.com

3377 Crowley Circle, Loveland

Stunning home backing to open space! Wonderful views of the foothills with greenbelt, walking/biking trails and privacy. This lovely 4 bed/4 bath home has a main-floor office/study and hardwood floors. $350,000 | MLS #665906

Call Susan Zack

970-226-1222

susanzack@remax.net


Saturday Reporter-Herald December 10, 2011 E5

H&RE Home Improvement

Keep your furnace safe, efficient with these tips DWIGHT BARNETT SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

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he furnace that worked just fine last year might need some service now that it has been awakened from its long summer nap. Here are a few tips to help guide you in the safe operation of your furnace. • Change the filter. This is one of the easiest maintenance items you can do. A dirty filter not only blocks airflow, which increases the load on the fan, but the dust and dirt that pass through a dirty filter build up inside the ductwork, further reducing the efficiency of the whole system. Filters should be properly sized to fit the filter rack near the fan and there should be a filter cover to prevent cold air from entering the ductwork. • For older furnaces that have pilot lights: 1. If the pilot light will not stay on, replace the thermocouple tube located between the main gas valve inside the furnace and the pilot light. 2. Check to make sure the pilot-light flame is burning blue and not orange. Orange flames

indicate incomplete combustion of gas, and that the furnace needs adjustment. Also check the color of all burners when the furnace is on and heating. They should also be blue and steady, not flickering. A flickering flame could indicate a more serious problem with the furnace — and that it should be inspected by an HVAC (heating, venting, air conditioning) technician. 3. With the furnace operating on the heat cycle, hold a candle or match next to the opening for the flue at the top of the furnace to see if the flue has a draft to carry the fumes from the burners out of the home. If the flue does not draft, shut the unit off and call an HVAC technician right away. A furnace that does not draft properly can release hazardous carbon monoxide gas into the home. 4. Check for rust or rust particles on the surface of the burners. If the burners are partially blocked by residue buildup, the furnace will not heat efficiently, and will waste energy. Vacuum the burner chambers using a crevice tool or call an HVAC technician. — For newer furnaces with no pilot light: 1. Make sure the igniter is working. The ig-

niter is a ceramic element that glows red hot to ignite the gas when the furnace first comes on. If the igniter is broken or damaged, the furnace will not work. Replacement is a simple DIY project. 2. Make sure the draft-inducement fan is working. The small fan is located at the bottom of the flue pipe and forces the fumes through the flue to the outside. If the fan is not working the furnace will not come on. Contact an HVAC technician. 3. If the draft-inducement fan is connected to a PVC flue pipe, you have a high-efficiencycondensing furnace. Check inside the furnace cabinet for any signs of condensate leaks or rust stains. Condensate water from a high-efficiency furnace is acidic, and can cause a chemical burn if improperly handled. Contact an HVAC technician for repairs. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, Ind. 47702 or email him at d.Barnett@insightbb.com.

Raising the Bar on

Home Entertaining LYNN UNDERWOOD MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

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ou don’t have to leave home to enjoy a bar with an art-deco vibe or tiki kitsch. With the right ingredients, you can create your own inviting atmosphere. “There’s a revival of the residential lounge,” said Minneapolis designer Billy Beson. “The economy is part of it. But with people’s hectic schedules, they want a more intimate type of entertaining than being in a loud bar with a bunch of people you don’t know.” The comeback of the cocktail culture and the growing numbers of wine collectors and beer geeks is also driving the trend toward comfortable, well-appointed home bars. Rather than go out on weekends, Jake Rudh, an event DJ and founder of the Facebook group Twin Cities Midcentury Modern, has friends over

to his basement bar room, which he describes as “straight out of a scene from ’Oceans 11.’ “ Even in a down economy, new home buyers aren’t eliminating bars, many of which continue to be carved out of lower levels. Instead, they’re enhancing them with sophisticated finishes and materials, said Andy Porter, owner of Refined, a Minneapolis homebuilder. “Our clients want themed bars like an Irish pub to create that atmosphere of going out.” Designer Greg Walsh, owner of Walsh Design Group in Minneapolis, agrees. “The lower-level bar is not an afterthought anymore,” he said. “It’s the core initial design of a home to utilize the lower entertainment space.” In some homes, the bar has become the hub of the basement. The newer shapes — graceful curves or kitchen-style islands — are designed

to encourage conversation. And the bars are often surrounded by amenities — billiards tables, golf simulators, flat-screened TVs — that spur interaction. “What’s nice about these home bars, you can add a malt machine or smoothie machine and have a great place for the kids to hang out, too,” Beson said. That was the template for the “cottage chic” bar that Betsy Conroy put in the lower-level walkout of her new home in Edina, Minn. With its cheery decor and marble-topped island, the bar is a place for the whole family to

gather. Many newer bars, such as the Conroys’, act almost as second kitchens, with built-in refrigerators, ice makers, wine chillers and microwaves. When the party’s over, dishwashers make it easier to clean up the mess. But Lars and Amy Jenkins of Edina didn’t add a bar in the basement of their 1950s rambler because they wanted the amenities. The couple recreated a Polynesian-style, tikithemed watering hole because they’re passionate about midcentury modern design. They serve everything from mai-

tais to martinis at the vintage rattanand-green-bamboo bar they bought. “Don the Beachcomber restaurant started it all in California,” explained Lars. “Tiki bars were originally about escapism — transporting you to another place.” When they have friends over for themed parties, Lars plays exotica and German schlager music from his vast record collection to complete the retro experience. “It’s all about good company, friends and beverages,” he said. “You can create your own world in your basement.”

“It’s all about good company, friends and beverages. You can create your own world in your basement.”

Open Houses This Weekend - www.thegroupinc.com NEW CONSTRUCTION

SATURDAY 11:00-1:00

3359 Coal Creek Street, Loveland Spacious 3 BD, 3 BA with lots of extras! Formal & informal living & dining areas, office/ playroom in the basement, tons of storage, A/C & fireplace, plus all appliances included! Private backyard.

SATURDAY 1:00-3:00

6709 W 21st Street Road, Greeley Open floor plan features a main floor master w/walk-in closet & Jacuzzi tub, spacious kitchen, formal dining room w/coffered ceiling & laundry. 2 bedrooms & a full bath upstairs. Basement finished w/2 bedrooms, family room & a wet bar. A/C. Freshly painted inside & out. 3 car garage. Covered flagstone patio w/built-in barbeque & fireplace.

$215,000

$249,000

$259,500

Call Shelly Hill

Call Stephanie Kirkland

Call Bob Skillman

MLS# 668114

970-310-3457

NEW CONSTRUCTION

SUNDAY 1:00-4:00

2803 White Wing Road, Johnstown This 2-story home is an architectural delight w/dramatic archways & classically placed art niches. Kitchen features an abundance of cabinets & bay window in breakfast nook. Bonus room on 2nd floor provides a 2nd family room. Extended hardwood flooring, upgraded cabinetry, granite, SS appliances and more!

NEW CONSTRUCTION

MLS# 667355

679-8084

NEW CONSTRUCTION

MLS# 667962

631-2257

FRIDAY & SATURDAY 1:00-3:00

FRIDAY & SATURDAY 1:00-3:00

2890 Carina Circle, Loveland Colorado Craftsman style home. Finishes include hardwood floors, designer tile, slab granite, alder trim & doors and shaker style alder cabinetry. 12’ ceilings in great room w/wood beams. SS appliances, gas fireplace and custom built-ins. Fully landscaped. Close to I-25, Centerra and the Medical Center of the Rockies.

$299,000

$335,000

Call Georgena Arnett

Call Georgena Arnett

MLS# 662114

481-9801

MLS# 662119

481-9801

FRIDAY - SUNDAY 1:00-3:00

103 Common Drive, Berthoud Elegant turn-of-the-century home built with quality. Wrap-around covered front porch. Formal living and dining rooms. Huge family room w/fireplace. Kitchen features Tharp City Scape cabinets, granite countertops & pantry. Unfinished bsmt. Covered patio. 8’ doors in the 3-car garage.

$349,900

MLS# 622778

Call Miki Roth

690-9459

$295,065

MLS# 660768

Call Kristen Specketer

290-8097

AN EXCLUSIVE SERVICE OF THE GROUP, INC. REAL ESTATE

Northern Colorado Real Estate Source 2892 Ariel Drive, Loveland Colorado Craftsman style home quality built by Oak Valley Homes. Kitchen features a large island and shaker style alder cabinetry. Ranch style home with open floor plan backs to open space. Beautiful finishes include hardwood floors, designer tile & slab granite. Full, unfinished basement. Fully landscaped yard.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY 12:00-5:00

4604 Free Hold Drive, Windsor Brand new, beautiful, 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 2-story home w/main floor master suite. Kitchen features a wood floor, granite countertops and SS appliances. Full, unfinished garden level basement. Deck. 3 car garage. See our model at 4613 Pompano Drive for more information. Other completed homes available.

The Real Estate Source is a magazine produced by The Group featuring homes for sale and new home neighborhoods throughout Northern Colorado. Online version of publication at www.thegroupinc.com containing links to detail pages for most listings.

rado rn Colo Northe Source

tate Real Es w w w.

thegr

oupin

c.com


E6

Saturday Reporter-Herald December 10, 2011

H&RE

Front Range Gardening

Historical Decor Include holiday traditions in your home CAROL O'MEARA CSU EXTENSION

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s you’re decking the halls and making merry, string up a few locals in your décor. From north to south and sea to sea, the Americas have a host of plants that add perfection to garlands, swags and centerpieces. Beyond pine cones and evergreens, celebrate the season with a touch of New World history. Here are three to include in your designs. Nothing perks up holiday style quite like something sprung from a bog. Yet the American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is one of the classics of the season. Native to America, it ranges from Canada to the Appalachian Mountains and westward into Wisconsin. The rambling

perennial vine thrives in temperate climates, sending out six-foot long runners that blanket the ground in a dense mat. Upright shoots spring from this mat, holding aloft the flowers and crimson fruit of this colorful berry. The boggy soil it needs is comprised of alternating layers of sand and organic matter, such as dead leaves and roots in a wet area. Left undisturbed, the layers form the perfect place for cranberries to grow. Actively growing from March through October, in cultivation the bogs are kept well drained, then flooded to aid in harvest. Some fruit is harvested dry, but since it’s labor-intensive, flood harvesting is more common. Once there is six to eight inches of water above the vines, water reel harvesters are driven through the bog in ever-widening spirals to pluck the fruit, letting it float to the surface where it is corralled and collected for processing. Native Americans treasured this fruit, using it for dyes, food, and medicine, teaching

the Pilgrims to value the crimson berry. A super source of vitamin C, sailors took cranberries on their voyages to stave off scurvy. Captain Henry Hall of Massachusetts is credited with the first cultivation of the berry in 1816. String the berries into garlands, fill the lower half of clear glass candle holders with them, or float some in water along with votive candles for drama on the table. Gather the kids together to show them how fresh cranberries bounce when you drop them. Central America gets into the act through popcorn, from which balls and strands are strung. Its small, hard-shelled kernels made it difficult to grind into flour, and thus was a less favorable food crop for Native Americans. But in the 1820’s seed companies began marketing popcorn as a novelty crop, and New Englanders, starved for entertainment, took joy in exploding food and purchased seed to grow. Popcorn became wildly popular just after the Civil War served plain or as a popcorn ball.

End-of-the-year care will help preserve tools JOE LAMP'L SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

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ood garden tools are like old friends — they’re not easy to find, and it takes some time and effort to get familiar and comfortable with them. But, ultimately, they’re always there for us. Using that perfectly broken-in spade, weeder or trusty pair of pruners can make pleasant work of even the toughest gardening chores. And, just like old friends, garden tools must be taken care of. As the gardening season comes to a close, now is the time to keep your tools in tip-top shape with some end-of-the-year maintenance. My routine is fairly basic, but has served my tools and me well for many years. First, wash off all mud and gunk. Use steel wool or a wire brush to crack caked-on sap or hardened soil. A vice comes in handy here if you have it. Remove deeply rusted areas with coarse sandpaper on a sanding-pad attachment on a power drill. Dry metal parts with shop towels or rags, then lightly wipe them with a thin coating of petroleum-based lubricant and rust inhibitor like 3-in-1 Oil. To maintain bypass pruners, first remove the spring and disassemble the two halves. Remove caked-on dirt with a wire brush, then coat the metal parts in a lubricant such as WD-40 to cut rust. Scrub the metal surfaces with an old toothbrush or soft bronze-bristled brush, and polish away stubborn rust and dried-on sap with grade 00 steel wool soaked in the lubricant. Wipe with a clean rag. To sharpen, lightly grind a new edge on the

cutting blade with a whetstone. Match the angle of the old edge until bright, shiny metal shows along the entire length. A sharpening jig like the Kinsman Pruner Sharpener locks onto the blade at the correct angle and lets you restore a razor-sharp edge in seconds. Run a diamond file across the flat back of the blade to remove any burrs left by the sharpening stone. Reassemble the pruners and store the tool in its holster, if available. To restore shovels and spades, carefully position the tool in a vice and secure it snugly. Use an 8-inch or 10-inch medium- or bastard-cut flat mill file to regrind the same bevel angle that came on the cutting edge. When the edge is smooth, even and shiny all along its length, check the bevel — it should be between 40 degrees and 50 degrees. Turn the shovel over, apply some light machine oil and rub a fine-grit grinding stone along the back edge in a circular motion. This will remove the burr raised on the back of the blade by the file. Wipe the entire tool blade with more machine oil and 00 steel wool. It’s now ready to store over winter. To reduce drying and splintering, wooden parts like shovel handles should be treated with boiled linseed oil (raw linseed oil dries very slowly). Lightly sand the wood with fine sandpaper, then wipe a linseed-oil-soaked rag over the entire wooden handle, let set for a few minutes to soak in, then wipe dry. If the wood needs greater protection, repeat this step several times as necessary. Store tools in a dry space, like the garage or tool storage shed. Never leave them out in the elements where they can get damp enough to rust.

Whip up a few popcorn balls, and you’re giving your family an historical treat over a century old. Petite fruit needn’t be confined to berries if you nestle a few Seckel pears into a garlanded mantel or pop them into a centerpiece — the tiny, chubby, red-blushed pear is an adorable accent. As a bonus, Seckels are a delicious snack, so if dinner is delayed, invite your guests to graze from the

decorations. Much debate surrounds the provenance of the Seckel, which some argue is the only pear native to America. Other experts poo-poo this, convinced that European immigrants dropped it, Johnny Appleseed-like, as they crossed the country. Either way, it’s one of our historical fruits, being discovered around 1760 near Philadelphia. Firm fleshed and spicy-

sweet, if you want a Seckel to last through the holiday, look for those that are glossyskinned with a light red cast. As it ripens, the red color deepens and the skin takes on a matte finish. Avoid those without stems; they’ll rot quickly and ruin the decor. Carol O’Meara is with CSU Extension in Boulder County. Contact her at 303-678-6238 or comeara@co.boulder.co.us.

An ENERGY STAR® home is a better built home Northern Colorado ENERGY STAR® Homes

NoCOEnergyStarHomes.org

www.newmidtownhomes.com • (970) 456-4600 • e-mail sales@newmidtownhomes.com • Midtown Homes at Boise Village North is centrally located in Loveland, just minutes from I-25 and US Highway 34 and is a unique opportunity to find new home with prices starting in the $170’s. The community is connected to the city trail system for great recreational opportunities and is minutes from Downtown Loveland. At Boise Village North you can find homes with low maintenance yards as well as homes with large yards and up to four car garages. The sales office is open 10-6 daily at 1899 E 11th St, Loveland, CO. • Midtown Homes at Rocksbury Ridge is a unique place where you can find quality construction at affordable prices with homes starting in the $190’s. Rocksbury Ridge is a close knit community in a subdivision with lots of amenities including several miles of walking trails, a private community lake, as well as abundant greenbelts and common areas. Rockbury Ridge has convenient access as the first subdivision ½ mile east of Interstate-25 into Johnstown at Exit 252. Model home is at 4312 Onyx Place, Johnstown, CO and is available to view by appointment. • Thompson Overlook is one of the only subdivisions in Colorado to offer an entire subdivision of Energy Star Qualified homes with prices starting as low as the $170’s. Our MidtownGreen building program offers the government backed Energy Star label, lower utility bills, lower maintenance, and better protection against cold, heat, drafts, moisture, pollution, and noise. Thompson Overlook offers 6 floor plans including ranch, multi-level, and duplex homes on a variety of lots ranging from small, lot maintenance lots to large single family lots. Visit Thompson Overlook at 2208 Sopris Circle, Loveland, CO and is available to view by appointment.

The Overlook at Mariana At home in The Overlook, you’ll feel out in the country but a mere 10 minutes away is the Thompson Valley Towne Center, home to a large supermarket, a variety of restaurants, and a multitude of services you’ll be glad are close by. Travel 10 minutes in a slightly different direction and you’re in downtown Loveland with interesting antique stores, funky boutiques, a host of restaurants, and the historic Rialto Theatre for your evening entertainment. For serious shopping, the Centerra complex at Highway 34 and I-25 is only 20 minutes from The Overlook where you can find just about everything you need. Located off West Colorado Road 20, West 1st & Cove Drive in Loveland.

As a home buyer we know you will feel and experience the difference. An ENERGY STAR® home provides you the home owner: • Better Comfort • Healthier Indoor Air • Enhanced Durability • Lower Energy Bills Visit these and other ENERGY STAR® Builders today

Learn more at NoCOEnergyStarHomes.org

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