I hired a realtor

Because I have been looking at so many homes, as you read about here and here, I finally bit the bullet and called a few realtors to interview them. When I reached out to friends over the past few weeks telling them I was searching for a house, I got a bunch of really funny responses. A bunch of people got back to me and asked if I had ever seen the movie ‘Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks. Unfortunately, I have seen the movie, and had the thought that I might be better off simply renting, but since I am going to be renting out a few rooms to some friends or find roommates, they would be hopefully covering my mortgage so if there are any necessary fixes, I would be able to cover them with wages from tips at Coopersmith’s.

After speaking with a bunch of friends, and calling a few realtors, I chose to go with Colorado Real Estate Pros, which is owned by a guy named Brad Sawatzky. Brad also owns a personal training business called Strength & Motivation, and had trained a friend of mine awhile back. When Eddie, my buddy, reached out to me with information about Brad, I asked him about his experience, and he said that not only did Brad help him find a house, but he made sure that he wasn’t making a bad decision and getting into a house that was going to be bad for him down the line. You can call Brad at 970-342-3568 or find him on the web by visiting this site.

So, I met with Brad at Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins, to go over a plan of attack. I told Brad that I wanted to find a house for anywhere from $260-300K, and that it had to have a backyard for Jake. Selfishly, I want a backyard too, so I can have BBQ’s, and have somewhere to sit, drink beer, and take my computer and blog on nice warm nights, so there’s a bit of a personal need there too.

Brad and I started talking about the neighborhoods that I had identified as the ones that I wanted to look at for potential landing spots, and I was happy to find out that he had some great things to say about certain neighborhoods, but also pointed out drawbacks about others. He said that he knew of a couple homes in each neighborhood, and that he would take me to some other neighborhoods as well that I may have not seen before to see if I liked them.

The thing that I liked about meeting with him is he seemed interested in more than just my home search, he seemed genuinely interested in learning more about me and my life, so he could help match me with a home that fit me.

So, after having a couple beers at Black Bottle, I signed on the dotted line and agreed to work with Brad. One thing that he told me that really resonated was that I should be patient with the home search. Because of the competitive market today in Fort Collins, and the fact that Real Estate prices are so high, the competition has caused people to lose sleep over some homes that they might have wanted. Brad has seen a few families place very competitive offers on houses, but have been outbid by other families and investors.

After speaking to Brad, I went home, talked to Evan about staying a bit longer, and he agreed that I could stay at his place for longer than the originally agreed to one month. Thankfully, I have someone who can help me out if things get a bit desperate.

Oh, and if you haven’t been to Black Bottle Brewery, do yourself a favor and check it out. The bartenders are hilarious, and they put out some pretty funny videos, like the one below.

The cat kills me!

I still haven’t found a house to buy

It’s been about a week and half since I began my home search, and I still haven’t found the home that I want to buy. Now, this isn’t the biggest deal since Evan has been so gracious to offer his home to me and Jake to stay in, but it’s getting a little cramped in there with all that I’ve added to his small home. Not that I’m really in a hurry to buy, especially since I want to find a good home that I can call my own. I want to make sure that I find something that I like, has all the things that I want in a home, and something that has a few bedrooms so I can have roommates that pay the bulk of the mortgage. I looked at a couple of houses this past week, and with Brad’s help, we have definitely narrowed down what we are looking for, but for my price point, there’s not much out there, yet. Brad said that I might have to wait until the spring, since the inventory is going to be greater then, but he said that when we go to look this Wednesday, we will see a couple places in nice neighborhoods. We are finding that if we see a home, it’s either not updated very well, or that it’s not big enough for what I want.

Meanwhile, work at Coopersmith’s is humming right along. I’ve started to pick up more shifts, either from grabbing them from servers who are giving them away, or from being on the schedule. I still don’t get a lot of the great shifts because I’m still very new there, but I’m making a little bit of money at least. The weekends are where the money is at, from Friday lunch to Sunday lunch, and I’m working as many of those as I can without neglecting Jake at home. That’s the toughest part, waking up and taking Jake for his typical walk and play session in the mornings after I’ve been working until midnight. Jake typically starts whining to go outside at about 6am, so those mornings come quick, and there’s lots of yawning on my part. Nevertheless, I’m always awake early, and it’s difficult to go back to bed after taking Jake out to do his business. Evan’s been great about taking him out in the afternoons if he comes home from work at lunch, but most of the time, Jake just holds it until I get home if nobody is home all day to help.

I’m excited for Wednesday and to continue to look at houses. The best part of the last week is that since I’ve told people at Coops that I am looking for a house, I’ve had some serious interest from co-workers looking for a place to live, so that’s good news on my front.

I guess I’ll just bide my time when it comes to finding somewhere to call my own. I would rather get it done quickly, but if I have some pretty specific needs then I’ll have to wait to find what I want.

It’s nice to have an afternoon off to sit here and blog for a little and then play with Jake. I need the money, but I’ll take it, especially after this weekend!

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The politics and craziness of a restaurant

This is where I work

Amid my home search, I’ve still had to continue with training at Coopersmith’s, which has been fun. Because I’m still a trainee, and can’t officially take shifts yet, I get to see and hear from almost every employee. I’ve been trained by 7 different servers, 2 different managers, and 2 different bartenders. That’s 11 different personalities, and everyone has their quirks, views, and reasons why they love or hate working in a restaurant. I’ve heard that I should stay away from certain people because they are negative, or make sure that I stay close to a certain manager, because if I befriend them, I will get better shifts.

I try not to take anything I hear too seriously, because I want to create my own views of people, but it’s funny how some people see things and have different perspectives on others. Take for instance last week. I was getting trained by a girl (I’ll leave her name out of this) who had been at Coops for over two years. She graduated from CSU 3 years ago, and has been working a few odd jobs outside of working at Coops. She obviously is a bit tired of working in a restaurant because after going to every table, she would whine about several things. Things that she would whine about: What people were ordering. The kids and the messes that they make. Needy patrons and the fact that they want something other than what they ordered. Patrons eating half their food and then asking to return it.

Now, these could all be legitimate complaints, but I see it as an attitude problem because all of those potential complaints could easily be brushed off by anyone with a good attitude. I truly believe that you choose your attitude, and the girl that was training me chooses to have a bad attitude every shift that she works. After the shift, I reflected back on the training, and while I was grateful for some of the great things that she trained me on, I was also glad that I learned for myself that this was a person that I really didn’t want to spend too much time around.

I have a three more shifts before I can officially go off on my own and start making some real money. I’ve been getting paid minimum wage and a free meal for every training shift, but that doesn’t add up to much in my pocket, and I could use some real cash at the moment.

Jake could use some better chew toys as well…

Looking for Homes

I tell ya, you really wouldn’t believe the competition for housing here in Fort Collins. I started looking for houses about a week ago, and although I was hoping to find something in the $260K range, it’s proving more difficult to find a house for that price. Let me clarify..It’s proving more difficult finding a house with 3 or more bedrooms for under $260K. I could walk into a condo tomorrow for much less, but I want a house and something I can grow in. Plus, a condo wouldn’t be good for Jake. He needs a yard to call his own, and I would rather not have to take him on walks all the time to do his business. Not that I’m a bad dog owner, and don’t take my dog outside, on walks, to the park, etc. But when I leave for work, I want a house that I can build a dog door in so Jake can feel free to come in and out as he pleases.

So, I started looking by myself last week, and because it was really tough to see anything besides the outside of houses, I remember saying to myself ‘Okay, I’ll continue to find the areas that I want to live, and then I’ll contact a realtor next week. To be honest, I probably should have called a realtor yesterday, but I wanted to do some research before I started looking for someone that would do the job. I thought for a second that I could just have my Dad, who has a law and real estate background, help me with the process, but since he does not live here, that would be hard. After a long conversation with him about my trouble with the housing search, I knew that I had to find a realtor of my own.

I’ve texted a few friends and asked them about realtors that they know, and basically, I want to reach out to about 3 people and interview them before choosing someone that I will stick with. I guess I’ve never really been through a process like this before, or about to go through something that will be the biggest purchase of my entire life. Besides college, I’ve never spent more than about 5 grand on something in my life. My truck cost me about 4 grand, and I had to have surgery on my ACL back in high school, which all told after insurance and rehab cost me close to 5 grand. College cost me a few grand, but I got a lot of help from my parents and grandparents luckily, so I don’t really owe a ton of money. I’ve been very lucky in that regard, and obviously as a server I couldn’t afford to buy a house by myself, so my Dad is helping me.

Sidenote: As I write this, Jake is laying next to me sawing doggie logs while he sleeps. I don’t know what I would do without that dog.

It’s Sunday, and football is about to be on in the background, but I want to take some time to go look for houses before the Broncos play the Vikings this afternoon, so I’m going to go out and look at some more neighborhoods. I just about know all the neighborhoods that I would like to live in, and have started prioritizing them from most to least desirable. But all of them are pretty desirable, and I wouldn’t mind living there. We’ll see what a realtor says when I interview them. That might be the thing that pushes me to hire someone, is their attitude towards certain neighborhoods here in Fort Collins.

I’ll be back with my results in a little bit, and Go Broncos!

Searching for a home

I went to Elevations Credit Union today and found out exactly what I’m approved for, and because my Dad is going to co-sign with me on a house, I was approved for a loan of $320K. I know that the Fort Collins housing market is a little bananas right now, with houses being sold for way over asking price, so I really have no idea what to expect, but at least I’m qualified. Should I insert the Youtube clip of the Carlton dance again? Ha!

Now that I’m qualified, I guess I have to find a realtor. I’m gonna ask a few buddies who I know have bought houses who they have used, and see what they say because I would rather not just go with someone that nobody knows anything about. With houses flying off the shelves, and real estate booming in Northern Colorado, I’m sure I can find a good realtor who wants to help me out. None of my friends who just graduated are realtors, otherwise I would just go with them.

I know the relative location of where I want to live, which is kind of where I am at the moment near City Park. But that leaves a lot of guessing, as I have no idea what the home values and prices would be around here. I guess that’s where the realtor will come in. I might do a little driving around and see if I can find some for sale signs and see if I can grab a couple brochures to get a feel for what houses are going for around here.

My Dad said not to be afraid to use everything that I got qualified for, because if I find a house with 4-5 bedrooms I will be able to charge about $500 per bedroom, and most of the mortgage will be paid. He’s always wanted a couple of investment properties, and although he’s still relatively young (52), and has some time left until retirement, he’s itching to add some real estate to his investment portfolio. He said that I would have full control over the house, all the decisions, but that he would simply own it, and I would have to make sure that I make all the payments to him for the mortgage.

We’ll see how everything goes, but first things first, today was the first day of my new job at Coopersmiths! Aaron was my trainer today, and he was a really cool down to earth guy who showed me the ropes, and gave me some good tips to excelling at ‘Coops’ quickly. I’ll be in training for the next couple of weeks before I start taking my own shifts, but for a first day, it was pretty good. I should probably also mention that I work with some pretty attractive females, so I was pretty excited about that too:)

Time to hit the sack again. Jake’s whining, and I have to take him outside to do the business…

I got a job!

Today, I got a job! Coopersmiths called me back and asked me to come in a bit early for my second interview, and after speaking to the GM, Mandy, they hired me on the spot! I’ll be working along with my good buddy Brian who graduated from the business school just like me. He helped me get the job, so after I got hired, I asked him what I could do to pay him back. He replied ‘Just buy me a beer sometime, but when I asked him if I could take him golfing at Southridge, he said ‘Hell Yes’! So we went golfing. If I could get my phone to send a couple of the pictures I have of us golfing to my email already so I could post them up on here, I would, but for some reason, that won’t work right now. I’ll come back in and post them when things start working again.

We had a blast golfing, and I actually played well for the first time in a while. Brian’s a great golfer who routinely shoots in the 70’s, and he smoked me on the scorecard, but golfing with him brought the best out in me, like it has before. I shot a 89, and Brian shot an 81, but he was on pace to shoot in the mid 70’s before I bought him a couple beers and his game got a bit liquored up.

Southridge is a good little track, kind of short with a couple real long par 5’s, and a real fun par 5 along Lemay Avenue. Every time I play it, I try to hit it over the net protecting the road, but most of the time I hit one in the road. You have to clear the net to hit the fairway and have a chance to get home in two, and I haven’t done it right in a couple years. But I still can’t bring myself to hit an iron off the tee, which is the smart play. Anyway, after golf, we had another drink (bad idea) at the 19th hole bar, McKenzie’s Pub (sp?), while we watched some college football.

All in all, this was a pretty good day, and one that I feel will vault me into the next phase of my life. I’m really excited about the opportunity at Coopersmiths, and can’t wait to get started learning the menu and training, which begins next week.

Now that I have a job, I can turn my head to searching for a house. I haven’t really got into the meat and potatoes of searching for a home, but I know that I have to meet with a mortgage broker, or go to a bank and see what I qualify for. Thankfully, my Dad said he would co-sign on a house because he knows I will get roommates to help pay for, or pay the entire mortgage while I live there.

Here’s how excited I was after I got the job today –


I’m tired now. Jake is too. It’s time for bed.

Officially Moved!

Whelp, I’m officially moved into my brand spanking new house. To be honest, it’s not brand spanking new at all. It’s really not even close to a new house, but it’s new to me and Jake, so I’m going to call it new for a while. You read in my first post that I’m looking for a permanent house, and I will start that hunt shortly. First, I’m going to go and find a job, which that search was started yesterday after I moved in. I went out to Old Town and completed about 7 applications, had two interviews on the spot, and most likely should be hearing back from Coopersmiths Pub or Old Chicago within the next 24 hours. I already have a second interview set up at Coopersmiths, but that could simply be a formality, because I have a good connection there who is putting in a good word for me.

Jake is a little uneasy at the new place, and I don’t blame him. Evan, my new roommate, has a dog that is not very well behaved like Jake is, and so Jake is wondering what the hell is going on. Evan is hoping that Jake will help train Sage a little bit, and I’m just hoping to sleep at night!

All in all, the move was good, no real hiccups there. It took me about 5 loads to move, and they were all relatively easy loads because I don’t have a lot of stuff. My truck was full to the brim on just about every run, and I had to use tie-downs to secure the load. Luckily, Evan took the day off work to help me move in, and we had some help from Matt, who lives down the street and is a good friend.

After moving in, we had a couple beers to celebrate at Meaux Jo’s, a bar down the street that may be a little too close for comfort. It’s a college bar, so when we’re feeling in that mood to maybe go meet some girls, or just have a quick drink and walk home, that’s an easy walk there and back, and we don’t have worry about having a sober driver for the night. Any time we go to Old Town, one of us ends up leaving a car there when we take a cab or an uber home.

The couch that I’m sleeping on is thankfully comfortable, but Evan has a bed that he’s going to get at his Dad’s house that is going to act as my bed for now, and I’ll have my own bedroom in the next couple days, so I’m very happy about that.

After speaking to Evan, he said it was okay for me to stay as long as I want, and he would give me free rent for a month while I was looking for a place to buy. I told him I would take care of groceries and buy him drinks for the duration of that month to basically say thanks, and he was greatly appreciative of that.

Well, best sign off for now, so we can go grab a drink at Road34, which we can also walk to.

Hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow, I’ll have a job!

Good Morning Northern Colorado

It’s another gorgeous day in Loveland this morning, and I will be packing up and moving to Fort Collins tomorrow. I’m currently house hunting, looking for something to buy (my parents are really buying the house, just to be clear), but I’m moving in with a friend to crash on his couch for the next few weeks while my realtor tries to find the perfect house for me. I’ve lived in Loveland with my cousin Chris for the past 2 years while I’ve been going to school, and Chris is getting married shortly, so him and his fiancee Tara want the place to themselves. I don’t really blame them, and they said they are really sad to see me go, but it’s time to move on and begin my after graduation adult life. That was a bit weird to say!

I’ll be living up by City Park for the next two weeks, which is perfect because it’s close to the mountains, City Park is only a couple blocks away so I can take my dog to the park in the morning before I go job hunting. The situation is really perfect, as my new roommate Evan goes to work early in the morning, so I’m going to get up early, get the personal stuff done, and go search for a restaurant job.

Thankfully, restaurants in Fort Collins are abundant, so I don’t think that I will have that hard a time finding a waitstaff job. I’ve waited tables before when I was in college, so I know the business and am familiar with the culture. I also have some friends who work at Coopersmith’s downtown, so I have an in there, which will be my first stop. I’ve been to just about every restaurant in Ft. Collins, either to eat or have some drinks, so I know where I really want to work. But I’m going to start in Old Town, because that’s the best spot to begin.

Time to get busy packing. I move in tomorrow night to Evan’s place, and me and my dog Jake will have a new home. Here’s a pic of Jake below, who just turned 6 this past month. He’s a hell of a dog.

Jake's my homeboy

Jake’s my homeboy