An Open Letter to My Non-Profit Colleagues

Greetings Nonprofiteers!

We all know that a strong and vibrant community makes real differences in real lives. That’s why your work to build, sustain, and strengthen our common fabric provides lasting inspiration well beyond the walls of your organizations.

As the owner of Conscious Real Estate – the premier Denver residential real estate brokerage that gives back to our community – I sought to develop brokerage that followed this example.

That’s why Conscious Real Estate, as a standard practice, donates 10% of every commission to a nonprofit of our client’s choice.

Through our work, I have met many of you, donated to some, and endeavor to take common cause with all your efforts.

We here at Conscious Real Estate are grateful to have had the opportunity to do this work over the past three years and watch your organizations grow and flourish. At the same time, we are dismayed by the obvious headwinds facing nonprofits in 2017 and beyond. With that in mind, Conscious Real Estate is committed to redoubling our efforts to sustain your vital role in our community.

A bit about how our brokerage works: When a Client purchases or sells a home through a Conscious Real Estate agent, the Client chooses a non-profit to which we donate 10% of the sale commission. While Conscious is exclusively a residential broker, we facilitate a similar arrangement for commercial real estate transactions through a partner broker, Forte Commercial Real Estate. Put another way – the more we grow, the more we give.

Allison Parks (Conscious Real Estate Founder, left) with Tiana Nelson (President and Chief Operating Officer, PawsCo)

So what are the results so far? In 2016, our average donation per transaction was well over $1000. This is real money for real organizations providing support and development to real communities – our community.

While we have received extremely positive feedback about the impact we have made thus far – feedback that we treasure – we still have significant work ahead of us. Our efforts to continue supporting you rely on your generous referral of Conscious Real Estate to your friends, family, and supporters. At the same time, we know that since your hands are always busy and your time is always short, you can’t regularly engage with Conscious to learn about the work we do.

In our heartfelt effort to keep an open line with our non-profit friends, we created this (occasional) newsletter just for non-profits to speak to only your needs. Through this forum, we seek to establish a tighter bond with you so you know the initiatives we pursue to support your work.

With this newsletter, we will include a toolbox for you that will include pre-written social media posts, pre-written newsletter blurbs, and ways that you can mention us to your supporters. We can also provide fliers, business cards, and other collateral to assist in your outreach efforts. Also, since this is a collaborative effort, we look forward to your feedback about the trends in the non-profit world and how your organizations can best be supported.

Finally – if we haven’t met – let’s meet! Please don’t hesitate to contact me through telephone, text, tweet, or smoke signal. I’d love to make your acquaintance. Again, I truly appreciate everything you do for our community and that’s why I created a business to help support you.

After all, you support our community – and that supports us all.


Warm regards,

Allison Parks

Conscious Real Estate donates to Project Worthmore

I had some recent transplants move back to Colorado and we found them a wonderful home! After closing, these folks wanted to donate to a nonprofit that benefits refugees. After researching some organizations, they selected Project Worthmore located in Aurora.

Project Worthmore provides programs that foster community, self-sufficiency and increase quality of life among Denver-area refugees.

PW accomplishes this endeavor through a multitude of avenues. They provide:

  • English (ESL) classes at no cost to refugees
  • A dental clinic for the refugees who cannot afford dental care. 
  • Fresh and healthy produce for families to attain bi-weekly
  • A family partnership program to help orient refugee families to Denver 

I was particularly inspired by the family partnership program, as this is not just a way to help the refugee families, but to become acquainted with another culture and step out of our comfort zone. I especially think that families with children could receive great benefit by participating in this program. What a wonderful way to expose your children to culture, while helping another family in need!

Here is a video about Project Worthmore’s Family Partnership Program:

Careholder from Project Worthmore on Vimeo.

There are many ways you can become involved with Project Worthmore. You can donate or volunteer. You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter. AND you can attend their upcoming event: Our Neighbors, Ourselves, which is an art exhibit that will take place at Stanley Marketplace on September 24, 2016.

As always, you can donate to Project Worthmore when you buy or sell a home through Conscious Real Estate – we always contribute 10% of our commissions to the nonprofit of our client’s choice! To learn more about this, call Allison Parks at 303-908-9873 or email

Conscious Real Estate Broker/Owner Allison Parks with Project Worthmore Executive Director Frank Anello

Why Bike Tours Are A Great Way To Explore Denver Homes For Sale

The title pretty much says it all, but if you need more reasons, read on…

1)  Riding a bicycle will make you calmer, happier, and more clear-headed. 

Most of my buyers get stressed out when they are looking for homes. They are making a major life decision. The market is aggressive. So many decisions to make! Exercise is always a fantastic stress reliever and when you’re making a big decision, you want to be relaxed, feeling good, and maybe even have a little wind blowing through your hair.

2)  You will see more of the neighborhood on a bicycle than you will in a car.

I prove this to myself EVERY SINGLE TIME I ride my bicycle around my own neighborhood – I always notice something while riding my bicycle that I have never noticed before. So, when you’re deciding which area you would like to live in, wouldn’t you get a better sense of the neighborhood if you can experience more of it?  For better or worse, if you’re riding a bicycle, you will see it, you will hear it, and you will smell it – I promise!

3)  It’s eco-friendly.

We don’t have to waste gas on a bicycle and contribute to emissions.  Furthermore, we don’t have to worry about parking!  Many popular neighborhoods in Denver are tough to find parking, so let’s focus on the house and not where we should put the car.

4)  It’s fun.

Buying a house can be fun! Some stressful moments may come up and I coddle my clients through such times, but I also think it’s great to add in fun moments. Whoever said that being an adult can’t be fun was just doing it wrong!

If you’re interested in having a realtor that will tour Denver homes for sale with you, give me (Allison Parks) a call at 303-908-9873 or email I’m happy to drive as well, but I’m just trying to make real estate awesome! Whether you tour homes via bike or car with Conscious Real Estate, we always contribute 10% of our commission to the nonprofit of your choice after closing. conscious-bike-tours

Bursting Denver’s Housing Bubble: Navigating Denver’s Real Estate Statistics



For two years, everyone has been asking me whether I expect a housing bubble to occur in Denver. Like any market, it will have to drop or plateau eventually. No commodity enjoys a steady increase until the end of time.

In the meantime, I come across a lot of articles and blog posts making some pretty broad claims about the Denver real estate market. The ideas are not necessarily wrong, but there’s more to the story.  

So, why should I just read this stuff over breakfast and roll my eyes, when I can share what I know with all of you?  I’m going to burst some of these bubbles, but not without a quick review of Economics 101.

Supply and Demand – Part 1: Denver’s supply of homes for sale is still very, very down. As long as this continues, Denver’s supply of homes for sale (or lack thereof) is a major contributor to our current seller’s market. Think about it… if, all of a sudden, the amount of homes for sale on the market increased by 500%, that would decrease the competition amongst buyers. If competition amongst buyers decreased, prices would go down

Supply and Demand; Part 2: We still have a lot of demand. People are moving to Denver at record rates. Denver consistently is rated as a top city for job-seekers, a top city to start a business, a top city for IT job-seekers, a top city for young people, and the list goes on. Based on historical trends, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that an average of 50,000 people will continue to move to Denver on a yearly basis.  Demand isn’t likely to go down; there is a limit to how quickly builders can build and many builders won’t want to over-speculate this soon after the recession. Therefore, we are likely to continue to have a demand greater demand than supply.

Our Local Economy: The Denver metro area economy is diverse and consistently growing. I read a blog post recently saying that “Denver is just a boom town and will fail like Detroit.” Doubtful. Detroit depended primarily on the auto industry; they did not have a diversified economy. Denver has a variety of industries which are flourishing.

As mentioned in every article about Denver for the past few years, we have weed. We have tourism, for the mountains… and for the weed. This keeps our restaurants full, our hotels full, keeps people shopping in our stores, drinking in our bars, and smoking our weed. We have tons of tech companies, most of which are growing, including a new Google campus which is coming soon in Boulder. We have an ever-growing clean energy industry. (On the flip side, we have a quite a lot of oil and gas companies here in Colorado, although, this industry has recently taken a major hit and people have been losing jobs in oil and gas. Note: oil and gas only accounts for about 10% of our total industry.)

National Interest Rates:  They’re still pretty low. A lot people, including myself, thought interest rates would rise by the end of last year. We were wrong. As long as interest rates remain low, it will keep mortgage rates lower, even if the home price is higher, so people are still very interested in buying now. The Fed has been meeting to discuss raising interest rates and although a couple of folks are bulldogging to raise them, most members of the Fed are interested in keeping interest rates low for a considerable amount of time. If there is a rise in interest rates, it’s not expected to be a major rise for at least several years.

*Note: although this is dependent on your home price and monthly mortgage payment, overall, you will save a lot more money over the course of a 30-year-loan if you buy at a lower interest rate than if you wait around for home prices to drop. The highest likelihood of Denver home prices dropping is if interest rates rise, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will save money.

Got it?  

I’m ready to get really dorky. Let’s analyze some Denver real estate statistics, so I can justify that Master’s degree that’s stashed in my closet…

Here’s one I saw recently from a Denver real estate authority…

In 2015, 10% less units sold under $500,000, while 34% more units have been sold above $500,000 compared to 2014.” It goes on to say that this indicates an overall price appreciation…

Here’s the thing… Sure, any Realtor working in the front lines of our local market will acknowledge that prices have been rapidly increasing. However, you can’t use that statistic to necessarily indicate an overall price appreciation. It could simply mean that less properties went to market under $500,000… If less properties go to market under $500,000, then less properties will sell under $500,000. It’s simple. If we are staying abreast of real estate statistics, we know that properties are generally being absorbed into the market within 4-6 weeks… Therefore, what is released into the market will be absorbed. If properties over $500,000 are being listed, they will likely be sold.

It’s likely that people with properties under $500,000 heard the news about how competitive it can be to find a home under $500,000; therefore, they are choosing not to sell at this time because they believe it will be difficult to find a replacement home. People selling properties over $500,000 don’t face as much market competition if they purchase a similarly priced replacement home in the Denver metro area, so perhaps people at that price point are simply selling their homes at a higher rate than people with homes priced under $500,000.

(This would explain a lot, because if these folks are simply moving within the metro area, then the seller’s home will go on the market, be purchased by a new buyer, and then the seller will buy a new home which likely also costs over $500,000, therefore resulting in two homes over $500,000 being sold. Generally, someone purchasing a home over $500,000 is less likely to be a first-time home-buyer, whereas someone purchasing a home under $500,000 is more likely to be a first-time home-buyer. A first-time home-buyer is someone who is no longer renting or living in mom’s basement, so they are only taking place in ONE real estate transaction. Buyers and sellers over the $500,000 price point are more likely to be participating in TWO real estate transactions, as such, creating a higher statistic of homes being sold over $500,000. In any case, although rapid appreciation is certainly real – we cannot simply assume that this statistic is indicative of purely of home price appreciation.)

I mean, hey… murder rates and ice cream sales both rise during the same time of year, but should we assume that ice cream causes murder?

Lets talk about some more statistics I’ve seen out there…

Another real estate agent/blogger calls himself “The Denver Expert” and encourages readers to “outsource their nerd.” Excuse me while I outnerd this guy and not break a sweat in the process… The “Denver Expert” posits that areas with higher home prices appreciate less than areas with lower home prices, while areas with the lowest average home prices are experiencing the highest rates of appreciation. The 5 areas listed with the lowest home prices are San Rafael, Clayton, Wash Park South, Whittier, and Cole, and it is reported that these neighborhoods are appreciating at a rate of around 19% per year. I live in the zip code of 4 of these neighborhoods and sell properties in these neighborhoods regularly.

What I can tell you is that, yes, the neighborhood has appreciated… a lot! But it has not truly appreciated at a rate of 19% per year. If it were unadulterated appreciation, the homes would have just increased in price with no outside forces at play —–> which means you could have purchased a home five years ago, done absolutely no upgrades beyond necessary maintenance, and had your home value increase by 19% each year.

That would be awesome, but that’s not what’s happening here… I can tell you from living and working extensively in the 80205, this phenomenon can largely be explained by a human species called “A Fix-and Flipper.” As the traditionally posh neighborhoods in Denver remain out of reach for many, people move to up and coming neighborhoods where prices are more affordable. Home-flippers get hip to these trends and they start flipping in these neighborhoods knowing that they can make money on their investment.

I purchased my home in July of 2013 and in that time, 5 homes have been fixed and flipped within 2 blocks of my home. Therefore if someone bought these homes at $350,000, put some work into them, and sold them for $500,000 within the same year, it looks like prices are increasing rapidly. The statistics don’t control for fix and flips; they only show the overall numbers. When you see these dramatic statistics for Park Hill, Whittier, City Park West, and so forth… you’re not getting the whole story.

Similarly, when you purchase a home in Wash Park East or Country Club, that home is already going to be outfitted with luxury upgrades. There isn’t a whole lot one can do with a such a property to add value. It’s already a luxury home. It already has Viking appliances, a top of the line bathroom, and maybe a heated garage. It already has the best roof that money can buy. Therefore, the value increases for these homes will not be nearly as grandiose.

All in all, my advice is to not be too scared of the market. It possibly will plateau or maybe even drop at some point. (A lot of people who were afraid to buy two years ago, but if they would have bought then, their home values would have appreciated during that time. In the meantime, their rents have only gone up.) All commodities drop. And they usually go back up. If your home value drops, treat it like a stock and don’t sell when the market is down.

As a final note, from everything I’ve seen, I do expect rentals to continue to rise. If you are renting, but are fearful of buying a home, you should probably fear the opposite. Home prices may drop at some point, but rentals are likely to go up and up and up. In fact, if you’re looking to invest some money, I would strongly consider getting a rental property in Denver.

If you have any questions about the Denver housing market, are interested in buying a home, or would like to find out your home’s current value if you are considering selling, please call Allison Parks at 303-908-9873 or email her at We are Conscious Real Estate – the brokerage that loves our local and global community – contributing 10% of all realtor commissions to the nonprofit of our client’s choice in our efforts to change the world through real estate. 

5 Tips for Selling Your Home in Denver in the Spring

potted plant, gardening tool, gloves, paint brush & paint can

Spring weather can be a challenge if you are selling your home in Denver. One day will be warm, the next day may bring snow. The weather may be windy, sunny, or both. As a seller, you need to take advantage of the season’s offerings to bring offers in.  This is time right before the market heats up and you want your home to stand out among the competition!

1)  First, it is time to begin taking care of your lawn – your lawn is the outdoor’s carpet. Landscaping makes a big difference when you are selling your home!  Hard rake, fertilize, and aerate your lawn now. Doing so will cost $75. The best time to do so are just before a spring snow, or during a warm period when you can water.  This brings us to the next point – water. Take advantage of the warmer days, and water your grass. It is not advisable to turn on a sprinkler system just yet, but a $10 oscillating sprinkler for 20 minutes will do the trick. (Don’t forget to unhook your hose when complete as to not freeze your pipes!) A great tip I learned is to use an organic green pigment to make your lawn seem greener than your neighbors. You can do this for mulch beds as well.

2)  Since the grass is dormant, now is a good time to edge the sidewalks and along the driveway, if edges along fences and concrete walkways and patios are neglected. Cut overgrowth now, and use a turkey baster to gently distribute spent cooking oil to prevent future weed and grass growth. Remember, do not let this oil come in contact with fences and plants as it might stain or kill.

3)  Revive your mulched garden by fertilizing and watering as you would with your lawn. To revive sun-bleached mulch, purchase an attachment for your hose diffuser. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, and shake regularly as you spray only the mulch. A leaf blower and a hose will remove dirt, debris, and revive rock beds.

4)  Colorado temperature extremes are also hard on concrete. Your local home improvement store will have caulk and concrete fillers that will preserve soil related cracks in cement stairs, patios, and driveways for less than $100.

5)  Finally, bring out the plants!  Temperature resistant plants like petunias can go in the ground, and less hardy tulips and lilies in your existing planters which can be covered or brought inside during the inevitable cold spell.

If you would like assistance with buying or selling your home in Colorado, please contact Allison Parks at 303-908-9873 to get started!  Remember, Conscious Real Estate always contributes 10% of all commissions to the nonprofit of your choice.

Are Marijuana Stores Bad for Your Neighborhood?

The marijuana state, Colorado grunge rubber stamp, vector illustration

Many homeowners have feared that the introduction of marijuana dispensaries and stores would place neighborhoods at risk by contributing to higher crime rates and nuisance factors.  This is a valid concern – I notice everything in my neighborhood that could affect my home value, even if it’s as minute as a neighbor getting a new roof.  Homeowners SHOULD consider their home as an investment.

However, a study from the University of Colorado at Denver, one of my alma maters, has shown that pot shops do not negatively affect local neighborhoods, cause higher crime rates, or create other undesirable outcomes.  The study focused on 275 marijuana distribution facilities in 75 Denver area neighborhoods, comparing 2010 census data to data from the 2000 census before dispensaries were legal in Denver.  This study sought to discover whether dispensaries qualify as “locally undesirable land uses,” evaluating whether or not these types of businesses contributed to higher crime rates, economic injustice, etc.

The study authors expected to see inequalities especially with shops located in poorer neighborhoods.  However, the research showed no relationship between marijuana store locations with poverty rates or ethnicity, as recreational pot shops are dispersed widely throughout the Denver area.

“Everybody is saying that [marijuana stores] are undesirable.  If that’s the case, it’s certainly not showing up in the data,” said Paul Stretsky, co-author of the study and professor at University of Colorado at Denver’s School of Public Affairs.

Former St. Anthony’s Hospital Site is set for rebirth as Sloans Development

Skyscrapers in Downtown Denver, Colorado.

After some controversy, the Sloans development is coming to realization.  The former St. Anthony Central Hospital located at West 16th Ave and Raleigh in the West Colfax neighborhood has been scraped and will be redeveloped as Denver’s newest urban infill.  Infrastructure will be built this spring with construction expected to begin by summer.

EnviroFinance Group has placed four of the blocks under contract with local developers who will build a mixed-use area of apartments, restaurants, shops, and a hotel across West 17th Avenue from Sloan’s Lake.  The Denver Post has recently reported that an 8-screen Alamo Drafthouse Theater will be added to the development as well.

There have been opponents to this development, including neighborhood groups who are concerned with density issues.  Around 1,200 residential units are expected with building heights rising to 20 stories.  With this potential influx of new residents to the area, questions have been raised as to whether the area can handle the additional traffic.

Developers believe the project will be a strong addition to the neighborhood.  Most Denverites would agree that West Colfax could use some work… will the Sloans development be the answer?

Are Denver’s Globeville and Elyria-Swansea Neighborhoods Headed for Change?

I-70 East Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Project - Visual Simulation of the Partial Covered Lowered Alternative

I-70 East Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Project – Visual Simulation of the Partial Covered Lowered Alternative

Many people living in Denver have never heard of the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods, although these neighborhoods are almost as close to downtown as the Highlands.  These neighborhoods are north of downtown Denver and are dissected by the junction of I-70 and I-25.  Globeville and Elyria-Swansea consists mostly of smaller Victorian homes built in the late 1800’s which housed the workers of the Globe Smelting and Refining Company which processed raw minerals brought from the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

The Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods have faced many problems in the past, due to a lack of urban planning in the neighborhood as well as environmental issues caused by the nearby industries of what is now Denver’s River North or RiNo area.  However, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero seek to transform the area into a “Corridor of Opportunity.”  “This part of the city has been long avoided by planners, mostly because there were easier projects to tackle,” states Kelly Leid, project manager.

This project, the “North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative,” seeks to provide sidewalks, new drainage, new roads, and new infrastructure including vertical buildings to bring jobs and investment to the area.  A total of four new light-rail stations will be constructed in the neighborhood and the East Commuter Rail Line will cut through on its way to Denver International Airport.  Another project could remove the aging interstate viaduct over the neighborhood, burying it underground and replacing it with a sprawling park, which is a $1.8 billion dollar proposal.

Even if the projects come to fruition in their current form, it will take at least a decade before they’re all fully realized.  In that time, multiple administrations could come and go.  Major improvements have been announced for these areas in the past and then simply did not happen.  In addition to lack of follow-through on past promises, KUNC, a community radio station for Northern Colorado, interviewed several residents in the area and found that area residents are concerned about the gentrification of the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods which occurred in the Denver Highlands neighborhoods. 

Mayor Hancock is pushing for change – to turn what has been called the back door of Denver into the new front door.

Mortgage Credit Certificate Program of Denver

Home finance concept: residential house, office calculator, colorful bar graph and color pie chart isolated on white background

Getting ready to buy a home and want to get 30% of your interest payments back?  Keep reading.

The City and County of Denver 2012 Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program allows qualifying borrowers to receive an annual federal income tax credit equal to 30% of the annual interest they pay on their mortgage loan. The tax credit enables a taxpayer to subtract the amount of credit from his or her annual total federal income taxes. Borrowers may choose to adjust their W-4 withholding to account for the tax-credit benefit and receive a higher net monthly income. Any excess credit from the MCC may be carried forward for up to three subsequent tax years.

This program will run from April 2012 to December 31, 2014.  Homeowners must keep their first mortgage and occupy the home as their primary residence.  The homeowner must not have owned another home in the past three years (unless they have purchased their home in a “targeted area.”)  Furthermore, the allowable maximum family income for families of 2 or fewer is $79,300 in a non-targeted area and $91,195 for a family of 3 or more, while the maximum family income is $95,160 for a family of 2 or less in a targeted area and  $111,020 for a family of 3 or more in a targeted area.  Click here for a list of targeted areas.

Note:  You must contact the appropriate government agency about getting an MCC before you get a mortgage and buy your home.

For a list of lenders who participate in the MCC program of Denver, please call us to get started at 303-908-9873.

How Will Legal Marijuana Affect the Colorado Real Estate Market?

Marijuana Questions

Whether you voted to legalize marijuana in the state of Colorado or not, it happened – and the business of legal marijuana is a large enough industry to affect our local real estate market.  This blog is not intended to be political, I simply consider it my job to stay on top of all aspects of real estate and our local economy.  So, how can we expect legal weed to affect our local real estate market?

All in all, marijuana equals more money.  In Colorado, 5 million dollars was generated in sales tax from medical marijuana in 2011.  The state of Washington estimates that legalizing marijuana will create $1.9 billion in additional revenue in the next five years.  The city of Oakland raised $1.3 million in tax revenue in 2011, which accounted for 3% of the city’s total business tax revenue.

Those numbers aren’t bad.

CNN Money quotes Alec Rhodes, managing director at Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services in Denver, estimates that marijuana growing operations occupy at least 1.5 million square feet of commercial real estate, which contributed to the local economy to get us through the recession.

So, if someone were relocating to a new city, what might they look for?  Strong economy.  Good schools. Colorado governmental regulations seek on the legal marijuana industry seek to provide this.  In fact, the first $40 million of sales and excise taxes on newly legalized recreational marijuana has been earmarked as revenue for public schools.

All in all, it is likely that the legal marijuana industry will positively affect the Colorado housing market over the next ten years; home prices probably wouldn’t skyrocket due to the industry, but the additional reinforcement to our local economy will likely add benefit.  The revenue generated from marijuana will redistribute into other local non-marijuana related businesses.  Folks who work in the legal marijuana industry will need to buy homes, eat dinner at local restaurants, acquire legal counsel, hire employees, and so forth.  With our nation’s economy still not up to full recovery, we can remain optimistic about maintaining our economic strength in the state of Colorado.