Sund shares Schroll Cabinets with Boulder area

When Bob Sund finds something he believes in, he commits himself for the long haul. Like when he came moved from Utah to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado – and never left.

“I loved the mountains; I’m an outdoorsy person,” the father of 7-year-old twin girls says of why he’s stuck around Boulder for 20 years. “I love to climb and hike and ski – all those outdoor activities.”

And Sund was building a custom home in the area when representatives from Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Schroll Cabinets approached him about using their cabinets in the home. Sund did and was so impressed with their product that he joined the company. Working in design and sales, covering Boulder and the greater Denver area, he has been with Schroll Cabinets for 16½ years.

“The product was heads and shoulders above anything else – the quality, the craftsmanship,” Sund says of why he believes in the company for which he works. “They come straight from the factory, so there’s no middle man.”

He notes that the company is still family owned while serving customers up and down the Front Range and two other states well with its own trucks and personnel. It has become the largest custom cabinetmaker in the Intermountain West and also produces custom counter tops, made with products such as Silestone, natural soapstone, granite, slate, wood, butcherblock, Corian and more.

Sund became a part of the RE/MAX of Boulder family 10 years ago when he worked on a custom home with some of its agents. Since then, he has worked with RE/MAX on several “fix and flip” projects, the 34-unit condominium project on 28th Street known as The Flats and on the Lotus Lofts.

To contact Bob Sund, call (303) 464-8996 or e-mail To learn more about Schroll Cabinets, visit its Web site,

Board suggests relaxing house-size limits in proposed ‘pops and scrapes’ ordinance

The Boulder City Council will soon hear the Planning Board's recommendations on a proposed "pops and scrapes" ordinance that limits the size of remodeled and new homes in established neighborhoods.

The ordinance addresses the issue of remodeling homes to increase their size as well as "scraping" of an old home to replace ("popping") it with a new, bigger home that doesn't fit in with the character of its established neighborhood.

The Planning Board’s recommendations, according to the Boulder Daily Camera, are more relaxed than what the city staff had suggested. Among the changes the board is recommending:

- Increase the floor-area ratio – the finished square footage of a house divided by the total lot area – allowed from the staff-recommended 0.45 to .5;

- Increase the allowable footprint of a home from the staff-recommended 30 percent to a 35 percent;

- Exempting barns, sheds or other structures from all restrictions, including floor-area ratio and footprint, if the city designates them as historic landmarks;

- Limiting restrictions to the Residential-Low 1 district, the zoning for single-family houses, and not including zones for mixed-residential and residential estates. The board suggests re-evaluating the issue after a year to determine whether to include other districts;

- Excluding 150 square feet of covered decks or patios not on front patios in floor-area ratios, whereas the draft ordinance also allows for 300 square feet of front porches;

- Increasing restrictions on wall length and design, adding rules for wall articulation and substantially increasing permit fees.

The City Council will have its first review of the proposed ordinance 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, in the City Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway. The final review and vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the same location. For more information about the proposed ordinance, visit the city of Boulder’s Compatible Development in Single-Family Neighborhoods Web page,

To provide feedback on the proposed regulations, visit or e-mail

Summer is finally here, bringing market improvements and optimism with it

The month of June brought no surprises as far as Boulder area real estate market statistics.

While the overall market is down compared with a year ago, it is starting to make the upward swing that usuaslly arrives in the spring, according to Ken Hotard, Boulder Area Realtor Association senior vice president of public affairs.

"We’re seeing continued growth," he says. "Home prices are holding well, and we’re continuing to see strength building from quarter to quarter."

In the second quarter of 2009, 807 single-family homes sold – an approximately 62 percent increase over the 499 that sold during the first quarter of the year. And the attached-home statistics are even more impressive: 176 homes sold in the first quarter compared with the 329 that sold in the second quarter – an 87 percent jump.

Hotard says that steady prices are a result of lower increases in inventory, supporting continued accurate and appropriate pricing, and the loosening of the lending market is helping the market, as well.

"Lending is opening up a bit and adding to the opportunity for buyers to get into a great market," he says. "I believe we will see strength in sales for the rest of the summer and into the fall."

Hotard says lending institutions are realizing that if they don’t lend money, they can’t make money, so they are becoming more comfortable in assisting buyers who can and will pay their mortgages on time and in full in securing loans. That, in turn, has opened the door to a larger pool of buyers who have been shut out of the market because of uncertainties in those credit markets.

"Rates are great, and home prices are driving buyers into the market," he says. "There’s great deal of opportunity for folks who have decent credit and can get into that marketplace. We’re seeing people get into that, and lenders are helping."

As they should, lenders are making more pragmatic decisions regarding loans and borrowers, and common sense more than fear if playing a big factor in those decisions, Hotard says.

"Data shows across the board the market is improving," he says. "We were kind of expecting that."

Louisville tops list of Best Places to Live

Colorado seems to have representation on every “best of” list out there, so it’s no surprise that yet another Colorado community heads up Money magazine’s latest Best Places to Live ranking of America’s small towns.

With a population of 18,800 people, a strong economy and plenty of outdoor activities, Money ranked Louisville as the best place to live for 2009. Ranked 13th, another Boulder County community – Superior – was the only other Colorado town to appear on the list.

Money’s findings were based on measuring and weighting factors Americans value most, including jobs and a strong economy, low crime, affordable homes, activities, schools, health care, diversity, weather and more. In addition to those factors, Money looked for that something special, such as community spirit, positive attitudes and old-fashioned charm, that makes a town the place to raise a family.

The magazine highlighted Louisville’s ice cream shops and Waterloo CafĂ©; its summer-long Friday-night street fair, complete with a beer garden, live music, and games for the kids, that runs all summer; a low unemployment rate, thanks to “robust” industries including high-tech, energy and health-care; high-rated schools; and plenty to do outdoors, such as nearly 30 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park that is less than an hour away and world-class ski resorts within a two-hour drive. Those factors, along with great weather, little crime rate, good health care and low taxes make Louisville the town to beat.

Money reported that, with Denver, Boulder, and Eldora Mountain Ski Resort each less than an hour away, Superior’s name reflects its location, as well. Its 27 miles of trails, 594 acres of parks and open space, and nearby employers including University of Colorado, Sun Microsystems, IBM and Ball Aerospace, make Superior an ideal town to live in, as well.

Here’s a look at the small towns that made Money’s top 10 Best Places to Live 2009:

Keeping yard green and safe for family during summer months takes time, effort

While the summer months are popular for backyard barbecues and trips to swim beaches, there’s still plenty of work to do – especially on the yard. recommends performing these tasks of yard care effectively and efficiently to ensure the safety of you and your property, save you money and free you up for the finer pursuits in life:

Mosquito control: Homeowners can defend themselves and their family and visitors against West Nile virus. Use mosquito repellents when you work or play outside; but, more importantly, gear your yard care to mosquito control by taking away breeding habitats for mosquitoes. That means common-sense sanitation, plus eliminating areas where water would puddle. Read this mosquito control article for reminders of some unlikely sources of standing water.
More: Mosquito Control

Tick control: While West Nile virus makes the headlines more often, Lyme disease spread by ticks, which, in turn, are spread by deer, is something you can protect yourself again. Limit deer incursions by planting deer-resistant plants, and you'll limit tick infestation. It’ll also save you money, as your garden won’t feed the deer instead of you.
More: Deer-Resistant Plants: Preventing Lyme Disease Naturally

Keep the lawn green: Learn how to avoid replacing your lawn by applying lawn fertilizers on a schedule. And save time and energy by practicing effective weed control, having the right mower and using that mower properly. To begin, I look at selecting grass types, watering lawns and – a rather unpleasant aspect of yard care – removing thatch.
More: Lawn Care Tips

Tune up your lawn mower: Lawn maintenance becomes a major hassle unless your lawn mower is running properly. Instructions are provided here for the do-it-yourselfer to perform a lawn mower tune-up. A lawn mower tune-up consists of three easy steps.
More: Lawn Mower Tune-Ups

Make yard care easier - automatic irrigation: Whether irrigation systems are a wasteful component in lawn maintenance depends on how you program them. The frugal can save money on their water bills in the long run by using irrigation systems, if they ensure the settings are at their most efficient. And there’s no question irrigation promotes easier yard care.
More: Automatic Irrigation Systems

Plant drought-tolerant plants in sunny areas, shade-tolerant plants in shady areas: Make life easier by making sure plants that are meant to take a lot of sun are planted in your sunny areas, and plants that prefer the shade are in your shady areas.
More: Drought-Tolerant Plants; More: Shade-Tolerant Plants

Preparations for fall plantings: Don't wait until fall to think about displaying fall color on your property. Your first step should be to get annuals on the cheap and nurse them along till fall arrives. The article also explores plant choices for fall color, as well as how to arrange the plants.
More: Fall Flowers on the Cheap

Like Boomers, 74 million-strong Gen Y will give housing market much-needed boost

After another foreclosure bubble from Alt-A loans and Option ARMs resetting in 2010 and 2011, and with unemployment rates still rising, a sustained, healthy stretch of increasing sales, values and homeownership rates will come, according to Dave Lininger, RE/MAX International chairman and co-founder. But this upswing won't be built on questionable lending practices, overextended buyers or insane debt-to-income ratios. Instead, a combination of pent-up demand and demographics – with the youngest group of adults, Generation Y, providing much of the spark – will serve as the foundation.

Lininger describes the generation born between 1980 and 1995 – also known as the "millennials" or "echo boomers" – like “a pig in a python.” Now aged 14 to 29, they comprise a block of 74 million potential buyers – nearly as many as the 80 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. He says considering the influence the boomers have had on virtually every aspect of society over the past 40 years, including the housing industry, he finds it fascinating to anticipate the impact of another wave that's just as massive.

The oldest members of Gen Y are approaching the average age of first-time homebuyers – the National Association of Home Builders puts it at 33 – and many of them are already taking advantage of attractive buying conditions. They’re moving through the household formation years of 25-44 and will soon replace Generation X (the 48 million people born between 1965 and 1979) as the primary first-timer group between 29 and 33. They will do so in much greater number.

The children of boomers, Gen Y is on the verge of becoming the major consumer force, although they’re not as well off as their parents were at their age, Lininger says. Despite being burdened by steep college loans, higher prices for everyday goods and an uncertain job market, they’re extremely confident, mobile and positive about their futures. Many are marrying earlier, without large nest eggs, and others see moving back home as a prudent way to save some money and wait out the economic turbulence.

Their expectations in housing are different, too. Their lifestyles are active, urban and social, so they generally favor smaller homes near recreation, restaurants and friends. Many would just as soon live in a townhouse or condo as in a large single-family home, as mowing the yard is not what they want to be doing on a Saturday afternoon. And though some embrace the charm of older homes, most prefer newer buildings filled with the technology and modern amenities with which they grew up.

Despite the current lack of buyer interest, a reservoir of pent-up demand is building in every age group: Gen Y couples who are content with renting or living with parents until their careers get going and their incomes cover their lifestyle expenses with something left over; Gen X families who have outgrown their homes but are delaying moves because of employment concerns and the tough economic times; boomers who no longer need five bedrooms but are hunkered down and postponing their downsizing or relocation plans, Lininger says. Eventually – those of us at RE/MAX International think it will be in four years or so – they’ll all feel secure enough to take the next step. Sales will rise and our industry will return to normal, although it will be a new, different normal than before. Regardless, we still face many challenges before members of Gen Y fully flex their buying muscles and help put housing back on track.