Solid Rock Realty Blog 

July 27, 2018

Budget-Friendly Living Room Updates

Often times, the living room is the first thing you see when you get home. It's probably safe to say that it is also one of the most used rooms in your house. Updating this area will bring new life into your home while making it an aesthetically pleasing place to live and entertain. As you likely know, updating any room in any house tends to add up quickly. Don't panic! There are many affordable options out there. Check out the tips below and learn how to bring a fresh, stylish look to your living room without breaking the bank!

1. Clean

The key to whipping any room into shape is cleaning -- deep cleaning. Don't stop at dusting and vacuuming. Take it further by removing clutter. Get rid of things you don't use or aren't completely in love with. Avoid using the area for any kind of storage. Ridding the room of unnecessary clutter will not only make the space look bigger, but it will help create a simplified, chic look.  

2. Rearrange

There's nothing as cost-effective as using what you already have! Take a look at your space, and figure out the best way to utilize it. Experiment with furniture to find what setup you like the most. Try pulling furniture away from walls or creating a cozy sitting area. If nothing else, create some change to liven things up.

3. Paint

Painting a room is a quick and fairly easy way to absolutely transform it. For your living room, choose soft, neutral colors or pull a color from something else in the room. If all your throw pillows have a little splash of color you like, tie everything together by painting the walls that color. Though, be careful not to go too dark. Dark walls quickly make a room feel small. If purchasing paint for the whole room is not an option, create an accent wall instead.

4. Add or Alter Lamps

Add a lamp or pair of lamps that will complement the color and theme of the room. If buying lamps doesn't sound so good, consider switching out the shades on existing lamps. Again, choose something that will subtly complement the entire room.

 

 

 

 

5. Get the Right Drapes

The style and color of your drapes can set the tone of the entire room. Avoid thick, light-blocking materials that will make the room feel smaller. Curtains affect lighting as well as aesthetics, which is why proper installation can make a huge difference. Check out this article for some helpful tips and visuals.

6. Use Accents Pieces

A good accent pillow, throw blanket, or rug can do a lot for a room. This is where you can choose a color or pattern that pops. The key is to avoid mixing colors or patterns that don't work well together.

 

 

7. Spruce up the Mantle

A fireplace mantle is a huge focal point in a room. If you have one, spruce it up a bit! Brick mantles can be transformed by a coat of white paint. It will bring in a modern look and help brighten the room. Decorate the mantle with a couple of simple pieces like a vase or set of candles. Just don't place flammable things too close during the winter!

8. Create a Gallery Wall

Making yourself a gallery wall is a fun and stylish way to personalize the room. You can use your favorite photographs, artwork, or get creative with it. To avoid chaos on the wall, use matching frames for each piece. You can even buy frames at a second hand store and paint them all to match. There should be an overall theme or color scheme as well. Check out these awesome gallery walls for inspiration!

 

Updating your living room is not only an awesome way to liven up your living quarters, but it's also  good way to prep for the market if you plan on selling your home. If you're curious what your home is worth, give us a call or find out for free on our website! We are always happy to hear from you!

July 18, 2018

Annual Summer Events

There's nothing quite like spending time in the sun with family and friends. Lucky for us, there is an abundance of opportunities to get out there an enjoy it! Make this summer extra memorable by attending one or more of the many events this awesome city has to offer. Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas are host to an immense amount of annual festivals, markets, and sporting activities. Below you will find some of our favorites. Take a look through our list and see if there's anything you're itching to be a part of!

 

Old Colorado City Farmer's Market

Head to Bancroft Park every Saturday for this awesome farmer's market, which runs through October. A wide variety of vendors offer fresh produce, delicious foods, and handmade goods. Head to the park between 7:00am and 1:00pm to join the fun!

 

Rocky Mountain State Games

Calling all athletes! July 20-22 & 27-29, thousands of athletes will compete in a wide variety of sports. The locations vary, so be sure to check out their website for scheduling details and registration guidelines.

Vino & Notes Woodland Park Wine Festival

August 4th, check out the wine, food, and music! This festival runs 12:00pm - 6:00pm at Bergstrom Park in Woodland Park, CO. Tickets may be purchased here at $35 per person.

 

 

 

 

Mountain Arts Festival

Woodland Park has so much to offer, including this two day festival featuring artists from across the country! Their booths will be up August 4th & 5th from 10:00am - 4:00pm. Located at Ute Pass Cultural Center in Woodland Park, admission is free.

Woodland Music Series

This free concert series takes place at Woodland Park's Ute Pass Cultural Center and runs through August. The theme changes each month, so head to their website for scheduling details.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon

August 19-20th, head to the Manitou Springs Barr Trail for this annual, high-elevation marathon! For registration details, click here.

Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off

Perhaps one of Colorado Springs' most colorful events, the Labor Day Lift Off is held annually at Memorial Park. September 1st - 3rd, keep an eye on the sky to see the awesome hot air balloons! Or head to Memorial Park for this free event.

 

 

If you're looking for more to see and do, the Visit Colorado Springs website is a fantastic resource. What are some of your favorite things to do in Colorado Springs? Tell us below!

 

Posted in Home Owners, Summer
June 11, 2018

Creative Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

If you're currently living in Colorado Springs, you know it is hot hot hot! There is no denying that it feels like summer has hit early. We're certainly not complaining, but we've looked into some ways in which you may be able to beat the heat and keep cool. Try some of these creative tricks and let us know what works best!

1. Hydrate.

Perhaps the absolute best thing you can do for yourself in the heat is to hydrate. Staying hydrated when you're sweating is key to staying cool and healthy. When you sweat, your body loses water. You need to keep fueling yourself by drinking water. Adding fruit to your meals can help as well. Watermelon is rich in water and a fantastic way to hydrate. Avoid beverages high in caffeine and sugar.

2. DIY AC

There are a number of do-it-yourself air conditioner options out there. One of our favorites is the simplest: the styrofoam cooler. All you need is a fan, a styrofoam cooler, and some ice packs. Simply cut a whole in the top of the cooler so that you can set your fan upside down on it (without it falling in). Cut additional, smaller holes on one side near the top. The ice packs will chill the air that blows back into your room. Not too shabby!

3. DIY AC Part II

For a similar, even simpler way to cool your living quarters, place bowl of ice water in front of fan. This is the easier version of the above setup. The ice will eventually melt, but it will help cool your room for a while. On a similar note, try wetting sheet and hanging it in an open window. The air coming in will be slightly cooler after it passes through the damp cloth.

4. Shut it Down

Turn off electronics while not in use, avoid using the oven, and hang dry your laundry. All of these things produce heat, and contribute to scorching temperatures inside.

 

 

5. Reverse Fans

Switch your ceiling fan from moving clockwise to counterclockwise. In the winter, you want your fan running clockwise at a low speed to move the hot air down. Switch it up in the summer to keep things cool! Turn it on the highest speed and make sure it's running counterclockwise. Pro tip: dust the fan before switching directions. If you don't, be ready for dust to rain down. Something about switching directions causes the chaos. We have also heard that, if it's cooler outside than inside, putting a fan in the window facing outward is a more effective way to cool down your house. We're not sure on this one. Give it a try and report back to us!

6. Cool Your Sheets

Freeze a hot water bottle or some soft gel ice packs, and tuck them under your sheets for a cooler sleeping experience. For the great effect, try to place them near pressures points such as your wrists, back of knees, or neck.

7. Insulate

Insulated curtains will keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer, to an extent. Keep them closed during the hottest times of the day, only opening the windows when temperatures have cooled.

8. Spice it Up

Rumor has it that eating hot foods can cool you down. According to this article, eating spicy foods raises the temperature of your body, causing you to sweat, and eventually cool down. We'll let you guys test this one out for us.

 

 

Posted in Home Owners, Spring, Summer
June 11, 2018

7 Lawn Care Tips

Lawn care can be a tricky thing. Getting soft, green grass seems like a simple feat, but the process can go south pretty quickly. Green grass is definitely attainable, but it may take some patience. Check out some of our basic tips below on how to get your lawn in tiptop shape!

1. Choose Native

If you're starting from scratch and planting grass seed, avoid the exotic. Choose seeds that are native to Colorado. This will ensure that your grass can handle that altitude and climate.

2. Fertilize

Grass needs nutrients to stay healthy and green. Grass can get these from the air and from water, but it's not always enough. Check out this article for a breakdown of grass nutrients, how to test your soil, and what fertilizer is best for you. If you're looking for a quick, organic option, you really can't go wrong with cow manure. When using any fertilizer, be sure not to over apply.

3. Know when to Mow

Mow your grass before it gets too long. Long grass is more likely to experience burns from the sun and shock when mowed. On that note, avoid mowing your lawn in the heat of the day, as it will cause stress on both you and your grass. Avoid cutting your grass when it's wet. This will really just creak a mess of clumped grass and an uneven cut.

4. Alter for Shade

Areas of your lawn that are shaded do not need as much water or fertilizer. A safe bet is to give shaded areas half the amount you give the rest of the yard.

 

5. Edge It

Edge your lawn to prevent overgrowth and weeds. This small detail will create a clean cut look, immensely upping your home's curb appeal.

 

 

 

6. Aerate Annually

Aerating your lawn is one way to ensure air makes it into your soil, providing your grass with the nutrients it requires. This is a good thing to do about once or twice a year. In Colorado, we have snowy winter in which the grass will go dormant. In that case, it is really not necessary to get out there and aerate.

7. Water When it's Cool

Choose to water in the mornings or evenings when temperatures have cooled. This will help prevent burning your grass, and the water will evaporate more slowly. Try watering for longer periods of time and slightly less often. If your lawn has gotten a deep watering, the water will last all day. Your yard will thank you.

 

There is not much better than stepping, sans shoes, into soft, green grass. You can have your dream lawn this summer, and now is the perfect time to get started on it! If you feel it is beyond your grasp or you just don't have time, we can always recommend a local landscaping company to help you out. If you're considering selling your home and you would like to spruce up the yard, give us a call today from some free advice and simple recommendations!

May 15, 2018

Colorado Springs Events You Don't Want to Miss

If you're looking for something to do, look no further than the Colorado Springs' event calendar! Below are just a few of the upcoming events this amazing city has to offer. Be sure to check out a handful ofthese. You wont regret it!

 

Old Colorado City First Friday Artwalk

Check out the amazing art featured the first Friday of every month. First Friday runs April through December, 5:00pm - 8:00pm. This free event takes place on West Colorado Avenue between 23rd and 27th Street.

 

 

 

 

Territory Days

Head over to the west side May 25th-28th between 10:00am and 6:00pm. Territory days is an annual street festival that runs along Colorado Avenue in Old Colorado City. It is host to nearly 200 booths and offers live music, food, and more. This is a free event.

 

Meadowgrass Music Festival

This Memorial Day music festival will be held in Black Forest at LaForet Conference & Retreat Center May 25th-27th. This year will feature over 20 bands, beer tasting, food, and family-friendly activities. Get the details here.

 

 

Manitou Springs Wine Festival

June 2nd, Memorial Park will be hosting the Manitou Springs Wine Festival between 11:00am - 5:00pm. Taste amazing wines while enjoying live entertainment and a number of vendors. Click here for ticket information.

 

Top of the World Rodeo

The Cripple Creek Rodeo takes place June 8th - 10th at the Teller County Fairgrounds (501 West Golden Teller County Road 1 Cripple Creek, CO 80813). Go for the rodeo, stay for the dancing, cook-off, and mutton busting! Ticket information is available here.

 

 

 

Pikes Peak Airstrip Attack

Head to the Colorado Springs airport June 16th - 17th between 9:00am - 5:00pm for an action packed day of street car races. Check out their website for details, rules, and ticket information.

 

Starlight Spectacular

Hosted by the Trails and Open Space Coalition, this bicycle ride takes place June 16th at Garden of the Gods. The ride starts at 9:00pm and ends just before midnight. Grab your bike and check it out! 

 

Donkey Derby Days

June 22nd - 24th, head to downtown Cripple Creek for this free event. Donkey Derby Days is rich in history, donkies, games, and more!

 

 

 

 

Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

This annual "Race to the Clouds" takes place the last Sunday in June (this year it falls on June 24th). Check out their website for more details on this motorsport race to the summit of Pikes Peak.

 

Royal Gorge White Water Festival

June 22nd - 23rd, Centennial Park in Canon City will host this thrilling weekend of amazing water sports, delicious food, unique vendors, and fun for the entire family. The cost is free.

 

All information gathered from the Visit Colorado Springs website. Check them out for everything you need to know about Colorado Springs!

May 14, 2018

Renters: Loving Your Property Like It’s Their Own

Wondering what your first steps should be in finding ideal renters? Before the applications and the credit/background screenings there’s an important first step in finding renters that will care for your home as if it were their own. Having a positive first impression of the home is a big step towards attracting the best tenants so if you can’t see yourself living there, how can you expect others to want to live there? Many rental homes have the stereotypical look and smell of a rental home so make yours stand out in a positive way by following some tips and suggestions from the Property Management Pros here at Solid Rock Realty.

 

·      CLEANLINESS     

Overall cleanliness is one of the most important factor when offering a home as a rental. Most prospective renters will take a look at the Kitchen and then the bathrooms to decide if the home is suitable for them. As the heart of the home, the Kitchen should always be extra clean, including the details such as inside appliances and cabinets. Bathrooms should sparkle and be free of mold, mildew, soap scum, and water marks on all surfaces.

 

·      CLEAN CARPET     

Carpets will not last forever and really should be replaced when wear and tear is evident. If carpets are not in need of replacement they should be professionally cleaned and deodorized to be free of odors and stains. We suggest a professional carpet cleaning at least once a year and always in between tenant move in/outs.

 

·      FRESH PAINT     

A fresh coat of paint is suggested every few years, depending on wear and tear. You can do this alone but it does pay in the long run to hire a professional. Doing this important shore regularly should keep the costs down and keep the home looking nice and fresh.

 

·      APPLIANCES     

Fully functioning appliances are important. A lack of maintenance can indicate careless ownership. If the owner doesn’t care, why would the renters? Make sure all the details are attended to such as HVAC, furnaces, water heaters, and plumbing, in addition to the obvious ones like ovens, dishwashers, disposals, refrigerators, washers and dryers.

 

·      LIGHTING     

Natural light is important and should always be maximized but interior lighting can go a long way to making a rental feel like a home. Above all, make sure all bulbs and fixtures are in good working condition and even consider upgrading to LED bulbs to increase the look, longevity and appeal, especially in those all-important Kitchens and Bathrooms.

 

·      EXTERIOR CURB APPEAL     

First impressions make for subconscious judgement. If you are deferring maintenance on the exterior of your property it shows a lack of caring and renters will feel that. Pay attention to the lawn, flowerbeds, and gutters on all sides of the property. Make sure they are neat, clean and free of overgrowth and debris. Maintain the roof, gutters, pools and of course, the paint work. Make sure all doors and windows open and close with ease and definitely make sure all security features work.  

 

 

May 14, 2018

Contractors to Keep on Speed Dial

As a homeowner, you never know what you may need. General maintenance can go a long way in preventing damage, but sometimes it is simply out of your control. Certain projects and fixes are great for family DIY adventures. Other tasks, however, may require professional help. Know the difference, and know who to call.

1. General Contractor / Handyman

Find yourself a reliable, capable general contractor, and hang on to that phone number. You never know what will go out, break, or need fixing. A good contractor doesn't overcharge and doesn't keep you waiting.

2. Plumber

Because water has the potential to cause an immense amount of damage, don't guess when it comes to your plumbing. When in doubt, get it checked out. Having a plumber who can make themselves available on short notice is a blessing when you're in a pinch. Water doesn't take long to wreak havoc, and mold can begin to grow in as little as 24 hours.

3. Electrician

Toying with your home's wiring can be a daunting and dangerous task. When it comes to most electrical repairs, it's best to leave it to a licensed professional.

 

 

4. HVAC Technician

Call a professional when it's time to service your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units. Not only will having a good HVAC technician keep the air in your home healthy and clean, but it will mean less stress in an emergency. Having a busted furnace during a Colorado winter can be slightly traumatic. Know who to call!

5. Roofer

Your home's roof might be a bit of a mystery. How often do you climb up there and take a look at it? If you're like the rest of us, the answer is probably never. After a Colorado Springs' windstorm or a cold, snowy winter, it's a good idea to call a roofing professional and have them check out the integrity of your roof. Maintaining your roof means protecting your home, and it could save you a lot of money int the long run.

6. Carpet Cleaner

A good steam cleaning never hurt anyone! Having fresh, clean carpet will keep you and your guests smiling. Shop around so you'll know who to call when you've got the cleaning bug, spilled some wine, or are prepping your home for sale.

 

We may be a little biased, but we also recommend having a good real estate agent on speed dial! Even if we haven't heard from you in years, we are more than happy to help you get your hands on the information you're looking for. If you're in need of contractor recommendations or wondering what your home is worth, don't hesitate to give us a call. We love to help!

May 11, 2018

Why Have Renter’s Insurance?


While not mandated, many Property Managers and Landlords will require tenants to obtain Renter’s Insurance as a part of the Leasing Agreements. One of the first mistakes renters can make is thinking they don’t need it. A few little-known facts about protecting personal belongings from theft and damage in addition to protecting their savings if they are sued, will help convince hesitant renters to make this important choice.

 

Even if you don’t think your belongings are worth that much, renter’s insurance is a good idea because it covers your stuff from disasters such as fire, smoke, water damage, windstorms, and lightning. The cost of replacing even a basic wardrobe alone can add up quickly. It’s your property. Protect it.

 

Renter’s Insurance covers more than the replacement cost of personal belongings. Need a place to stay of your home is damaged? Hotel costs after a disaster can be included as ‘additional living expenses” in your policy. Medical Expenses for an injured guest? A typical policy includes up to $5,000 worth of medical coverage. Kids cause damage to the neighbor’s property? Liability Insurance could pay to replace it. Dog bites the neighbor? Most policies will provide coverage if this happens but check your policy, occasionally insurance companies will exclude or limit coverage for dogs.

 


Tips for Shopping for Coverage

  • Decide beforehand how much coverage you need. This amount should be high enough to replace all of your belongings.  Make sure to choose a high liability limit to protect you in case you are sued as well. A great resource to help determine the value of your property is KnowYourStuff.org
  • Always get multiple quotes from several providers and don’t forget that many insurers offer a discount for combining home and auto coverage.
  • Sometimes insurers will offer coverage for property only and not liability so know your options and find side by side comparisons to determine exactly what kind of policy is the best fit for you and your situation.    
May 11, 2018

Creative Ways to Use Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets were created for the purpose of taking the clingy static out of clothes while freshening them up. We have since learned that the science behind dryer sheets, their texture, and pleasant fragrance make them much more useful than the average laundry instrument. There are a myriad of uses for the powerful little sheets, some more practical than others. Check out some of our favorite alternative uses below. The best part about these tips, is that they will work even after running the sheet through the dryer!

 

1. Remove Pet Hair

The abrasive texture and static reducing qualities of dryer sheets make them perfect for getting pet hair off of clothing and furniture. Pet hair clings to dryer sheets, picking it all up in a couple of wipes.

 

 

2. Clean Dishes

If you have some pots and pans with particularly stuck on food, soak them in the sink with a couple of dryer sheets. You will find them much easier to clean the next day. The same trick can be used on oven and grill racks. Soak them in the bathtub overnight. Toss in a handful of dryer sheets and add some dish soap to the concoction. When you remove the racks, they should wipe clean and rinse much more easily than without the dryer sheet soak.

3. Dust Electronics

Dusting sometimes feels more like moving dust than removing it, especially on electronics. Clean your tv, laptop, and ipad screens with a dryer sheet for a noticeably better result. 

 

 

4. Add Freshness / Debug

The pleasing scent and thin material of dryer sheets deem them the perfect, and possibly most diverse, air freshener. "Air freshener" may not be the best term, as the freshening possibilities go much further. Stash dryer sheets in shoes, closets, sleeping bags, and just about anywhere else to amp up the freshness. Not only will these things smell better, but bugs are a lot less likely to find a home near dryer sheets.

5. Sharpen Scissors

Don't throw your dull scissors out the door just yet! Instead, sharpen their blades by cutting up a dryer sheet.

 

 

6. Polish Household Items

Wipe down stainless steel appliances, faucets, toilet bowels, and the like with dryer sheets. The sheets will remove water spots and add a lovely shine.

7. Mop

In lieu of buying Swiffer refills, fix a dryer sheet to the end of your mop and never look back!

 

 

 

8. Remove Deodorant Stains

It seems dryer sheets have made the impossible task possible. A few wipes and deodorant comes off clothing without a trace!

9. Clean Blinds

Use a dryer sheet to dust your home's blinds. Attach it with a rubber band, and you have yourself the perfect blind-cleaning tool.

 

 

 

 

10. Tame Hair

Run a dryer sheet along the top layer of your hair to help eliminate fly away hairs and unwanted static.

 

Give some of these a try, and let us know how it worked out! If you've discovered some creative ways to use dryer sheets, comments below and share your tricks!

 

May 11, 2018

Tips For Keeping Houseplants Happy in Colorado’s Climate

 A houseplant is a houseplant is the general rule of thought but plants that flourish in Florida may not have the same happiness here in the Rocky’s. The dry altitude in homes here may wreak havoc on transplanted plants. A few tips from the team at Solid Rock Realty will help your houseplants love Colorado as much as we do!

 

 

1.     PICK THE RIGHT PLANT

     Thick, waxy leaf plants that retain and store moisture are a great go to.

Palms, ferns and wispy plants tend to struggle in the dry air and will leave you feeling let down.

2.     FIND THE BEST LIGHT

Most houseplants prefer indirect light but thrive near a sunny window so find a home for it close to a window.

If you don’t get much outside light inside then make sure and talk to a professional about which kinds of plants need little light.

3.     WATERING

One watering every five to seven days is an excellent rule of thumb for most houseplants but if your plant has extra thick leaves you can most likely water a little less frequently.

Don’t overwater. Overwatering can be worse than under watering. If it’s looking unhealthy and doesn’t have the perk it usually does, cut back on watering until you know it’s actually thirsty.

Don’t underwater either. Try making a regular routine of watering to keep you from forgetting to water on a regular basis. If your plant is stunted or looks stressed, a drink of water may be in order.

4.     LOVE YOUR PLANTS

Your houseplants bring beauty, health, and liven up your home so make sure and love them back. Keep them well cared for and they will bring your family lots of joy!