Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why Curtis Park/ Five Points is the Neighborhood to Watch

As a realtor (and general Denver enthusiast), I spend a loooot of time researching, chatting, and learning about up and coming developments in Denver.  One of the best parts of my job is working with investors to find the next "big" area of the city.  

One of the main ways I get a feel for transitioning neighborhoods is by following restaurant trends.  Where are the new restaurants going?  Where are the new co-working spaces?  Where are there new breweries and wineries opening up?  Where are the hip kids hangin'? :)  People are always going to want to live where things are happening.

The RiNo area is one of the neighborhoods that excites me the most right now in Denver.  Tons of restaurants, breweries, townhomes, bars  going into that area and still so close to downtown.  RiNo is historically  avery industrial part of now.  But as of recent, is now turning into the creative/ art center of Denver.  Lots of co-working spaces popping up, a breading ground for creativity and inventiveness.  The demographic tends to be young, early adopters.  Rental rates are strong here- but very little inventory, especially single family homes.

Curtis Park/ Five Points borders RiNo.  Historically the "Harlem" of Denver.  A predominantly African American art community.  More recently, Five Points has been seen as a rougher neighborhood in the city.  Though most of it's residents would describe it as having a wonderful, tight knit community.  There are a lot of public housing developments in the area.  But as of recent years, many new developers are moving in and building high-end single family homes and townhouses. 

Driving around Five Points/ Curtis Park, one will see a ton of recently flipped homes, as well as new builds on every street, mixed with humble older homes and large historic houses.  As RiNo continues to grow- Curtis Park/ Five Points has become more and more desirable.  It is the closest area to downtown that has not totally been gentrified, as of yet.  

A few months ago, there was a contest for developing Welton St. (the Five Points downtown strip) where the winners were given grants to be used towards their development idea. The winers of the contest are planning to add restaurants, brownstones, apartments, a hotel, and more to Welton St.  A street off of the light rail, that will connect downtown to DIA.  And though many of the current residents are upset about the changing nature of the neighborhood, from an investment standpoint, it is the neighborhood to watch.

Please contact Jenna Hamel with any Denver real estate needs:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Why You Should Buy in Denver Today

There is so much talk about it being a great time to buy (said in cheesy realtor voice).  But have you stopped to think about why that actually is?

Most home buyers may have a general understanding of this hot Denver market, but let's break it down to the nitty gritty.  With a perfect storm of home buying factors colliding in Denver at the moment, it is easy to see why, you too, should get in the market ASAP.

1)  Interest Rates

Interest rates are incredibly low right now, but are going up.  An interest rate can significantly change the amount you pay monthly for your mortgage and the amount you pay in total for your home.

For example, if you purchase a $250k house, put 20% down, and get a regular 30 year fixed loan for the remaining balance, your home will cost you a total of $399k at the end of 30 years at our current interest rate of 4.13%.  Say the interest rate goes up to the national average rate of 8.52%.  At the end of your 30 year loan, you will have paid close to $605k!  That is almost double what you would pay if you bought now.  The fact of the matter is, low interest rates save you a ton of money in the end.  And they are super low right now.

2)  Increasing Home Prices

Home prices are rising, and they don't look to be slowing down any time soon.  With such a limited inventory in the Denver area, a huge increase in population each year, and investors scooping up everything they can, home prices are going to continue to rise.  It looks like waiting to buy will most likely hurt your wallet, not help it.  Most experts agree that the Denver market will keep this momentum for at least a few years.

3)  Limited Inventory

As the city's population grows, the city grows.  Meaning that neighborhoods that were once undesirable due to their distance from downtown, now become the new hot neighborhood as people are priced out of more centrally located areas.  This is going to continue to happen, so snatching up a property in one of the neighborhoods close-ish to the city's center now, will surely be a very strong investment as the city continues to expand.

4)  Crazy Rental Market

The Denver rental market is crazy... like totally, and completely mad.  It is likely that your mortgage will be significantly lower than your rent.  And putting money towards an appreciating asset of your own always feels better than paying someone else's mortgage!

5)  Job Growth

The Denver job market is rapidly growing, with companies moving from the coasts to set up office's in the area.  With cheap labor, and lower business costs, experts expect the city's growth to continue, increasing the value of homes in the metro Denver area.

Hopefully you now understand the buzz and excitement about the current Denver real estate market.  It's an exciting time to live in beautiful Denver, Colorado and a good time to get into this market before the rest of the country discovers our little secret ;)

Please contact Jenna Hamel at Dwell Denver Real Estate with any questions or Denver real estate needs:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is an HOA for you?

So you want to buy a house?  Wonderful!  Planting a garden, sitting out in your yard, picking out paint colors, and having a place to call your own.  All wonderful things!  But sometimes we forget about the not so fun parts of home ownership.  Being a homeowner is a big undertaking.  When the roof is leaking there is no landlord to call...its now up to you!  The cost and responsibility shift can be a drastic one from those previously renting.

But worry not.  There is a great middle ground for those of us who are ready to own, but aren't quite ready to the weekends of lawn mowing and gutter cleaning.  That middle ground is purchasing a home with an HOA.

HOAs, or Homeowner's Associations, are also known as Common Interest Communities.  These are governing body that manage and care for a housing development.  Most properties with HOAs are condos and town homes but some single family housing developments also have HOAs.  HOAs are perfect for many first time homebuyers, older citizen, or those who just don't want to deal with much home maintenance.  The HOA often takes care of the grounds of the property, common interest items such as the roof and exterior of structure of the development, and the financials of the development.  But all of this freedom comes with a cost.  In addition to your mortgage, you will pay a small fee (in Denver typically $100-400) each month to the HOA.

And an HOA is not for everyone.  The HOA will enforce strict rules on what you can or can't do with or to your home.  So if you are ready to buy a home, but not ready to give up those weekends in the mountains, and HOA might be for you!

Please contact Jenna Hamel at Dwell Denver Real Estate with any questions or Denver real estate needs:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The New (and cheap) Vacation Home.

Rolling Huts
Methow Valley, Washington
Every weekend in the winter, as I sit in bumper to bumper traffic on I-70 on my way up to the ski mountains, I dream of the day that I can own a home in the mountains.

A day when I can head up to my mountain cabin on Friday nights after work (sans traffic), cozy up by a fire after a long day of skiing, host family get-togethers on the holidays, and over-serve myself at apres ski in the local ski town pub without worrying about the drive down the hill.

Well after some research, that dream may not be as impossible as it seems.  With a new focus on sustainable, energy friendly, minimalists living, a new revolution has been catching fire.  The Tiny House revolution.

People are realizing that will good design, earth friendly materials, efficient organization, and a little ingenuity, we Americans don't need as much space as we think...  And guess what?  Not only do these small houses leave a much smaller environmental footprint, they are guessed!

Many of these prefab houses are simply luxurious and RVs, which get taxed as personal property like a car.  My favorite company right now is Wheel Haus out of Jackson Hole, WY.  I have stayed in one of these and they are functional and beautiful at the same time.

So hunt on tiny house hunters.  And hopefully we all will be vacationing in our (tiny and cheap) mountain homes very soon!

Please contact Jenna Hamel at Dwell Denver Real Estate with any questions or Denver real estate needs:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breastfeeding is hard.

No one says being a mama is easy.  At least no mama has ever said it.   40+ weeks of being pregnant, 20ish hours of labor, months of no sleep and thoughts of "I have absolutely no idea what I am doing".  Mamas are nothing short of superheroes.
After all this hard work and dedication, it just seems unfair that breastfeeding would be hard.  But it least it can be.

There are a million variables in BFing- positioning, food sensitivities, tongue name it.   Sometimes it feels like a never-ending uphill battle.  But eventually it gets easier.  You and your babe start to figure each other out.  And after much frustration and hard work, things start to click.

But know that you don't have to do it alone.  There are amazing resources and support groups to help mamas with all kinds of breastfeeding challenges.  Look for local breastfeeding groups and classes at prenatal yoga studios.  The LLL (La Leche League) also offers great local support groups.  And never underestimate the magical powers of a great Lactation Consultant!

And know that you are not alone.  Almost every BFing mama has to overcome one thing or another (or a bunch of things!).  Hang in there, keep the faith, and get support.  You are doing great mama!

Read this article for a funny and helpful read about breastfeeding:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Clean Your Yoga Mat

If you are like me...your yoga mat stinks.  Like really stinks.

You can buy those fancy, schmancy mat cleaners filled with chemicals and unnecessary ingredients.  

OR you can do it the homegrown way...

In a small spray bottle, combine the following:

  • 1 part vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 part water
  • A few drops of essential oils (tea tree oil is a anti-fungal that works well!)

That's it.  So next time you reach for something in the pretty package take a second to think: "Can I make this?"  The answer is probably...YES!

Here is a great article about mat care and cleaning.

Namaste yogis!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Taking The Stress Out of Home Buying

Buying a home can be exhausting, overwhelming, and stressful, especially in a competitive market.  But it doesn't have to be!  Here are some tips to taking the stress out of home buying...

1)  Get ahead of the game.  Even if you are not planning to buy for the next few months, it is never too early to start the process.  Check out potential neighborhoods.  See what the inventory is like in your local market.  Look into school districts.  The more you narrow down your criteria, the easier the home buying process will be once you get serious.

2)  Be prepared.  Have everything in order so you can move fast once you find a property. Get the process started with your lender.  Make sure to have a pre-qualification letter ready to submit with your offer.  Know your budget.  Know what you would like to spend and what you would be willing to spend.  Know your deal breakers.  Do everything you can before hand, so there are no hang ups with your offer.

3)  Get a great agent.  One that will work their butt off for you.  One that will listen to your needs and go the extra mile.  And most importantly, find an agent that you can trust and who has your best interest at heart.

4)  Be open.  Know that in a competitive market, you may not get the first house that you want.  In some markets you may not get the 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th... which can be completely frustrating and heart-breaking.  But be open.  If your offer isn't accept for one house, move on to the next.  Know that the process will lead you to the right home.  And remember, there are many, many great homes out there for you.

5)  And last but not least...Take A Biiiggg Breath.  Often times we get so entrenched in the home search process that it becomes all-consuming.  When you are starting to feel overwhelmed, step away from the computer, go for a walk in the fresh air, relax your shoulders, and take a biiiig breath.  And remember the mantra..."what will be, will be".  

Please contact Jenna Hamel at Dwell Denver Real Estate with any questions or Denver real estate needs:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Walking Tour of Denver's Union Station

It is an exciting time to be a Denverite.  It is as if everywhere you look there is a crane working on a construction project, growing and developing the city.

Last Saturday I took a walking tour of the new Denver Union Station Project.  These tours are offered monthly by a great local blog called Denver Infill.  This blog is written by a professor of urban planning and development and tracks all of the urban development projects happening in Denver.

The Denver Union Station Project is awesome!  It is coming along quickly and should be a great city landmark and gathering space once it is finished.  Here are some of the project's highlights:

  • A hotel in the top floors of the actual train station.
  • A large pavilion used for festivals, concerts, and fairs- complete with a huge lighted fountain in which children can play.
  • A bike pavilion with a bike repair shop, bike lockers, and tons of bike racks.
  • Multiple new restaurants, cafes, and bars in the station and flagging buildings.
  • A bar that allows patrons to gaze outside through the station's old ticket cages.
  • Multiple tracks taking you to different parts of the front range and to DIA...and even a track reserved for the return of the ski train one day!
Check it out when you get a chance!

Please contact Jenna Hamel at Dwell Denver Real Estate with any questions or Denver real estate needs:

Colorado Pear Sauce

Colorado summers are simply the best.  In the summertime and fall, we are blessed with the juiciest peaches, most delicious pears, and the sweetest apples.

This year we got a canning share from Ela Family Farms on the Western Slope of Colorado.  A canning share is like a CSA.  The only difference is that you get fruit and veggies in bulk- think 20lbs at a time- and they are #2s, meaning they aren't as pretty as the ones in the store.  Perfect for canning and preserving!

All "jammed" out, I decided to make a pear sauce with our recent 20lbs of pears.  Think applesauce with pears...

It is really simple to make your own fruit sauces:
  • Clean and cube up a looottt of pears.
  • Cook pears in a large pot.  Start by boiling than reduce to a simmer for 1-2 hours, until skins start to fall off the fruit.
  • Blend with an immersion blender or a standard blender.  At this time add cinnamon if desired.  I like to keep the the sauce a little chunky.
  • Fill mason jars with cooked pears.  I use the larger ones for sauces.  Close the lids- but not crazy tight.  Rule of thumb is to close jars with one hand until jar spins.
  • Fill a hug pot with water and bring to a boil.  Place jars of pear sauce in boiling water so they are completely submerged.  Let jars sit in the rolling boil water bath for 20 mins.
  • Pull out jars and allow to cool until you hear a "pop".  This indicates a sealed jar!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Selling Your Home: Passing the Inspection

So you are under contract for the sale of your home...great!  But now comes the dreaded inspection.  The bad new?  A "flawless" home does not exist.  The good news?  The inspection does not have to be painful.  The following tips will help you sail easily....and painlessly...through your inspection to closing!

1) Know your home.  Be aware of the state of the critical items that will be examined.  Know their year and functionality...and fix what you can before hand.

  • HVAC System
  • Electrical Systems
  • Plumbing Systems
  • Sewer Lines
  • Roof 
  • Water Heater
  • Foundations
  • Windows
  • Gutters/ Downspouts

2) Fix the little things.  Fix the obvious little things that will be noticed by the buyers and inspector.  Make sure knobs, handles, and faucets are on correctly and in working order.  Check that all included appliances are functioning properly.  Repair cracked tile, chipped paint, etc.

3) Make it easy on the inspector.  Make sure your home is clean, pets are out of the house, all necessary keys are present, and receipts and invoices for repairs and updates are left out neatly in a folder.  Label any hard to find electrical boxes or crawl spaces.  And leave the house for the inspection.  Staying at the home with just aggravate the buyers and inspector.

Remember- all houses, with the exception of brand new homes, are "used" and will have their share of quirks and flaws.  By concentrating on the big safety items and easy cosmetic fixes you will be on your way to a successful closing!

*Check out this great virtual tool from the American Society of Home Inspectors of what home inspectors look for in your home.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Finding A Home That Will Appreciate

In today's market, buyers are savvy!  Not only are they looking for a great home for themselves and their family, but also one that will appreciate and bring future value.

Here are some characteristics of homes that tend to see the most appreciation: 

  • Single family homes will always appreciate the strongest, followed by duplexes/triplexes, then condos, and finally apartments.
  • Access to jobs is critical for rising home values.  If jobs go, values go.  If jobs increase, so do the values of the properties nearby.
  • Who doesn't love living near amenities?  Look for properties near shops, restaurants, and parks. Ideally with good public schools and low crime rates.  
  • Look for neighborhoods with distinctive architecture.  Many buyers will find this charming and desirable.
  • Never buy the nicest house in the neighborhood, but look for a house with good bones.
  • Don't be afraid of putting in a little work.  Updating a kitchen or bathroom can bring a big return on value.
  • Examine the neighborhood.  Do the neighbors take care of their homes?  Is there new construction popping up in the neighborhood?  Are new restaurants moving into the area?  These are all great signs that value will continue to appreciate.
For more information on the Denver area market contact:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Pop of Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a critical part of selling your home and adding value to your property.  For a low cost way to make your home stand out, try painting your front door a color that pops!  Some examples of good house/ door combinations are white houses with red doors, yellow houses with plum doors, and grey houses with yellow doors.  Get creative- buyers will remember!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hot Denver Neighborhoods 2013

Denver is an exciting place to live right now, and an exciting place to buy!

A developer friend estimated that there will be an influx of 20,000 people in Denver next year alone.  20,000!  Though that number may have some give or take, we do know the city is growing at rates that can hardly be met by the housing market.  With this fast growth, comes development and change.  And areas that may not have been ideal in the past, are now quickly transitioning into highly coveted and hip neighborhoods.  Buying in these areas now may mean big turnouts in the near future.  Here are some of my favorite "ones to watch":

1) RiNo (River North):
This hip and artsy neighborhood is defined by the borders of I-70, I-25, Park Avenue West, and Lawrence Street.  A primarily industrial neighborhood in the past, now bustles with art studios, breweries/ distilleries, hip restaurants, and shops.  With its proximity to downtown and its access to the light rail, this area is the new place to be.

2) Whittier/ Cole:  
These two great old neighborhoods Northwest of City Park have seen a huge rejuvenation with the transition of Five Points and the extension of the East Line light rail.  While Whittier is known for historic Victorian houses, Cole is still a little more affordable being slightly further away from downtown.  A great area for fix n' flips too.

3) West Colfax:
Around town the locals are talking about the West Colfax neighborhood.  With the new West Line light rail passing through this neighborhood, young professionals are starting to notice this area.  Adjacent to Sloan's Lake, it is a perfect spot for Denver's active population.  And with condos, restaurants, and stores going into the old St. Anthony's Hospital space, this neighborhood has a bright future.

4) Sunnyside:
With its proximity to the Highlands and downtown, it is just a matter of time before this area explodes.  Bordered by I-70 on the North, 38th on the South, Federal Avenue on the West and I-25 on the East, this neighborhood is still fairly affordable.  With the Berkeley neighborhood and Tennyson Street to the West and the Highlands to the south, it sits in a pocket of resurgence, complete with hip restaurants and hopping bars.

5) Jefferson Park:
One of my favorite neighborhoods in Denver, this area boasts great views of downtown, walking distance to Sloan's Lake, and stumbling distance from Sports Authority Field.  Walking around the Jefferson Park neighborhood you will find many residential properties and store fronts undergoing construction.  New funky coffee shops and restaurants are starting to pop up as well.  Prices have already started to rise in this area and with the changes in the neighborhood, and they aren't likely to slow down any time soon.

If you are interested in learning more about these Denver neighborhoods, please contact me at

Jenna Hamel
Dwell Denver Real Estate

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Good Reminders for Selling Your Home

Do you love those reality home shows as much as i do?  A friend sent me this great article on tips for selling your home taught on those guilty pleasure real estate shows!  Take a look if you're looking to sell...or want to test your HGTV knowledge:)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

partner support during birth.

a big part of what we do as doulas is to help dads/partners help mom stay as comfortable as possible during her birthing time.  here are some tips about what partners can do to help mom during labor:
touch:  dad’s/ partner's touch can be a huge source of relaxation and safety for mom during labor,  as it is familiar and loving.  this touch can stimulate oxytocin production to progress labor and ease discomfort.
  • massage mom
    • back (low back and shoulders), scalp/ playing with mom’s hair, legs/ glutes
    • using lotions and aromas that mom finds relaxing (ie. lavender) can be great to relax mom during birth.
    • practicing massaging mom to sleep before baby comes so you know what relaxes her and what type of touch she likes.
  • positions/pressure: dad's/ partner's strength can be a great help in labor positions and counter pressure.
    • slow dancing with dad’s/ partner's support and eye contact
    • hanging squat- mom squats with full support from dad/ partner
    • counter pressure with fist
    • Double hip squeeze/ hip pressure with or without help of doula
    • pouring water on mom’s back in water birth
environment:  the birthing process tends to run much smoother when we feel safe and relaxed in our environment.  dad/ partner can easily control this.
  • ambiance
    • LED candles, keeping lights low, aromatherapy
  • music
    • playing music mom enjoys and responds to.  soft music when it’s a relaxing time, encouraging music when mom needs energy.
  • temperature control
    • room temperature
    • mom’s body temp.  warm blankets when cold, iced wash clothes when hot (maybe with essential oils).
voice:  most important of all is that dad/ partner is being attentive and present
  • kind and loving words of encouragement and gratitude
  • talking about your baby
  • visualizations and mantras- “open” and “down”
  • breathing with mom or guiding mom through breathing exercises

Friday, February 1, 2013

it's all about the tincture.

this nasty flu season has brought attention back to the importance of our immune system. while eating whole, nutrient rich fruits and veggies is priority #1, it can also be super helpful to add supplemental boosts to our body's defense.

and that is why it's all about the tincture...

per a friends recommendation, i have started taking boulder's own wishgarden herb's "kick-ass immune activator". and am now a total believer (and addict for this stuff!). it is an intense tincture of immunity strengthening herbs in droplet form. you can purchase it at any natural food store in (and probably out of) colorado. plus you feel so cool saying you take a tincture...just sounds homegrown doesn't it?

stay well and happy weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

those moments.

this video captures those few and far between moments on our mats when the world around you melts away and you feel a complete peace and connection to the universe.  

it doesn't happen with every breath, or even most breaths, but it is why we get back on our mats day after day.  

it is an intangible, unexplainable feeling that is impossible to grab a hold of for long.  but for those seconds that you have it, there is nothing like it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


hi, i'm jenna!

i am a real estate agent in denver, colorado, as well as a doula and yoga teacher.

growing up in northern california, i made my way towards the rocky mountains to attend the university of colorado at boulder (go buffaloes)! after graduating, i traveled north to jackson hole, wy to ski and enjoy my days on the snake river.

missing the(far)west, i spent two wonderful years back in san francisco with family and friends before heading back to sweet colorado.

this blog is an exploration of all things i love.  

in no particular order: yoga, real estate, babies, homesteading, pregnant bellies, cooking...and eating, and joyful inspiration.  i believe a simple life is a good life, and a natural life is the only life.  

thanks for visiting, i hope you enjoy.

buy a yogurt one now.

Yup it's official.  Totally obsessed with my new yogurt maker. 

Thanks to Q I am now able to make 7 jars of yogurt in mayyyybeeee 20 minutes.  It's almost too easy, just boil 5 cups of milk, let cool to 90-110 degrees, add (room-ish temperature) 1/2 cup of plain active yogurt, fill jars, and leave jars in yogurt machine to warm for 8-10 hrs.  And voila...

I added some of my mom's apricot jam to the top. Oh so so good.  I feel so French.  Gotta love homesteading.

Monday, December 3, 2012