The Durango Realty
The Wells Group


Information on the Durango Fire Rescue Proposal to Increase Mill Levy

This November, Durango Fire Rescue will be placing a mill rate increase on the November Ballot.  The proposed amount is a 2.5 mill rate increase to maintain and support operational costs and existing demands for Fire and Emergency Services in our community. The purpose of this blog is to shed light on the proposal. As always, it’s an individual homeowner’s responsibility to evaluate the benefits and vote accordingly.

To start, do you know what a Mill Levy is, and how it impacts your property taxes? In a short definition, “The mill levy is simply the tax rate levied on your property value, with one mill representing one tenth of one cent” (Investopedia, So anytime a proposal is made to increase a mill levy, it will raise taxes. However, community structure and improvement oftentimes exists out of these decisions. In this case, the Durango Fire and EMS says support of this levy is necessary to provide enough revenue to support Fire and Emergency operations at their current and future service levels. Ultimately, this is a personal decision, but we want to make you aware as it will impact property taxes.

As a team, The Durango Team supports and endorses the proposed mill rate increase. We believe this increase will greatly impact our area and quality of life. Every day, we talk with people who choose to live in the Durango area for the quality of life, and part of that is the ability to respond and handle emergency needs. So, in order to continue with the quality of life and safety of those both visiting and living here, we believe this proposal will be a huge benefit to the Durango area. This is also personal for us, as Cassie Baier’s (from The Durango Team) husband is a firefighter in Durango. We see first-hand the needs of the Durango Fire Department and how this mill levy will support them.

Current Durango Fire Protection District details:

  • Serving 325 square miles of La Plata County, San Juan County and the City of Durango
  • 16 Fire Stations, placed throughout the response area for coverage
  • Career and Volunteer members, throughout the response area for coverage
  • 58 miles long, from the North to South District border

Overall, call volume has increased in recent years, while revenue has decreased. Also in recent years, trends show that in city limits, incident calls are growing much quicker than District calls.

The increased funding will:

  • Meet the budgetary needs for current fire and emergency services operations
  • Increase staffing model to meet the service demands and safely deliver emergency response due to increasing call volume
  • Establish a revenue source to address the capital improvement needs of the response area

Hopefully this information is an overall snapshot of this issue. Take a look at the this flyer for more information as you decide how to vote:

We’d love to answer any questions you may have regarding La Plata County real estate. If you’re interested in an open house, come see us this Saturday from 10-12 at 17 E. Animas Village Lane.

Durango Parade Of Homes This Weekend

This upcoming weekend is an annual favorite, the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado 14th Annual Parade of Homes. It is an excellent opportunity to see the products of local builders and craftsmen by seeing some of the beautiful homes in Durango and Pagosa Springs.

On Friday evening September 22, enjoy “Homes Under the Stars,” a romantic time to tour the homes. Other locations host events throughout the weekend. Tile & Light Art of Durango hosts the Friday Night Wine Down, and Southwest Appliance will have gumbo Friday evening. Smart Enterprises will offer Sweet Treats throughout the weekend.

In addition, participants can be eligible to win prizes. This year prizes include a Big Green Egg, a Napoleon Patioflame, a gift certificate for $5,000 from Whirlpool Corporation, a $1,000 gift certificate to Durango Nursery, a $1,500 gift certificate to Colorado Fenestra, and a $1,500 gift card toward tile or lighting at Tile & Light Art of Durango. See the website for details and rules.

As real estate professionals, we highly regard and appreciate our local builders. We have beautiful homes in our area, and it is in large part due to the work and intentionality of these builders and craftsmen. If you get a chance to participate this weekend, you’ll be glad you did! Take a look at the website for more information:

August Colorado Association of Realtors Numbers

This week, we have the latest real estate numbers for La Plata County for the month of August. The attached charts show a detailed breakdown of several market segments in La Plata County, showing La Plata County as a whole, Durango In-Town, Durango Rural, Bayfield In-Town, Bayfield Rural, Ignacio In-Town, Ignacio Rural, and Durango Mountain Area.

These charts indicate the statistics and key metrics for single family homes and townhouses/condos, including new listings, sold listings, median sales price, and more. They compare August 2016 to August 2017, and year to date information for both years. We also see the rolling 12 month median sales price for single family homes and townhouses/condos in these segments. We always appreciate these charts to be able to spot trends within our local market, and compare results to previous years.

The La Plata County single family home market had an interesting month. This August of 2017 had a higher number of sold listings than August of 2016, but the median sales price was slightly lower. Year to date for single family homes, we see more sold listings and a higher median sales price than last year at this time. For the townhouse/condo market, August 2017 saw an 84% change from last year in the number of sold listings! The median sales price was also higher this August compared to last August 2016. Year to date, August of 2017 had more new listings, sold listings and a higher median sales price than last year at this time.

The Durango Rural townhouse/condo market had a strong month. There were more new listings, sold listings, and a higher median sales price in August 2017 compared to August 2016. Year to date, we see more new listings and sold listings, but a lower median sales price compared to last year at this time. In the Durango Rural single family home market, both this August and year to date, there were fewer new listings and sold listings, but a higher median sales price compared to last year.

The Bayfield in town single family home market had a stellar month. Although this August of 2017 saw fewer new listings, there were more sold listings and a higher median sales price. Year to date, there are a higher number of new listings and sold listings, but a lower median sales price compared to last year at this time.

As always, these numbers are just a few snapshots of the local market. Take a look at the attached charts for a detailed breakdown. Please contact us with any questions. We would love to discuss further! If you’re looking to attend an open house this weekend, we will be hosting one at 441 Confluence Sunday from 12-2. We’d love to see you!

Weekend Plans? Head to the Durango Autumn Arts Festival

Durango is a community that has long celebrated and encouraged local arts. From festivals and events to promoting local artists, it’s a vibrant artistic community. One of the longstanding traditions is the Durango Autumn Arts Festival Guide—this is the 23rd Annual year! It will be held this Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17. It is a benefit organized by the Durango Arts Center and features entertainment, food, and of course artists—both local and from across the country.

The festival occurs on East 2nd Avenue, where there will be exhibits featuring the artists and their creations. Last year there were 7,649 visitors! Vendor types include: ceramics, digital art/computer graphics, wearable fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, sculpture, wood, and more. This is such an array of artistry; it’s amazing to see so much talent in one place!

There’s a Creation Station in the Bank of the San Juans parking lot that includes chalk drawing, face painting, and more. The stage with live entertainment will be located next to Durango Arts Center, and the food court (near the stage) includes local favorites, so it’s a perfect way to enjoy beautiful art and a nice time in Downtown Durango. Best of all, entry to the event is free, and it’s great for the entire family! Take a look at the website for more information:

August La Plata County Real Estate Numbers

We have the La Plata County Residential Sales month-end numbers for August, and what a month it was! With 134 total sales, August has the highest month of transactions that we’ve seen this year. In addition, this is the highest number of sales we have seen in any August since prior to 2009. Of course, this is a reflection of summer activity that saw closings in August, thus making the August total a high number.

Year to date, we are at 794 total sales, compared to 732 sales last year at this time. Considering that 2016 ended with a higher total of sales than many of the previous years, this is a great indicator as to the strength of the real estate market this year.

The median sales price is at $358,000. This is the highest median sales price for any year since prior to 2009. Last year the 2016 median sales price was $355,000, so we are still tracking ahead of that. The average days on the market remain low at 129. This number is lower than any number since prior to 2009. Again we see a fast sales cycle and strong median sales price.

Across the board, August was a strong month for real estate. Traditionally, we still have decently strong activity through the fall, and winter is usually a slower time for our market. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to let us know.

If you’re interested in visiting an open house, we will be featuring 13 Falcon Way Saturday from 1-3. We’d love to see you come by!

Honeyville—Stop on By!

Have you been to local favorite Honeyville? Located just on the north side of Durango in Hermosa, it’s been remodeled in recent years and offers a unique shopping experience. Stop by after a trip to Purgatory or Silverton, or drive through the Valley to see this unique store.

The family-owned business dates back to the 1920s, when Vernon Culhane produced locally made honey in the Durango area. Now, honey is still garnered from Rocky Mountain bees to produce honey and their variety of products that contain honey.

Honey, sauces, wines, and whiskey are all available, along with tastings! It’s a fun experience to stop by Honeyville. Kids enjoy seeing the live glass beehive filled with bees and looking for the queen bee. They also enjoy the variety of sauces and honey samples to taste. Adults can taste the sauces, as well as the wines and whiskeys. The Honey House Distillery sells Colorado Honey Whiskey, vodka distilled from honey, cinnamon honey whiskey, and more.

The entire experience is a thorough way to enjoy a local favorite. The store sells fun and unique items, as well as their honey-related products. Honeyville is a one-stop shop the entire family can enjoy! Take a look at their website for more information:

In Response to Hurricane Harvey…

In light of the national news this week of Hurricane Harvey, our hearts go out to those who have been in its path or been affected. It’s hard to listen to the news and see the loss and destruction. As real estate professionals, we feel for those who lost homes and the journey ahead with repairs necessary to manage the damage. We do what we do because we understand the value of making a house a home, and it’s undoubtedly a tough time for those facing loss.

When tragedy occurs, it’s amazing to see communities rally together. Durango is no exception. According to the Durango Herald, the River Church, Elks Lodge, and a woman in Bayfield are all holding fundraisers to support those impacted by Harvey. The River Church is accepting monetary donations to aid workers and communities with food, shelter, and water. The Elks Lodge is accepting other donations (bottled water, nonperishable food, bug spray, etc.) Judy Blaisdell of Bayfield is collecting donations at Jay Lynch’s office in Bayfield and will drive them down this weekend. Take a look at the article for more information: (

This tragedy is a reminder of the danger of water damage in a home. As real estate professionals, we know the consequences of water damage even though our area is not impacted by this disaster. Over the years, we’ve seen significant water damage to homes. We understand how crucial it is to ensure your home doesn’t see water damage. This is a great reminder to take a few minutes to walk around your own home. Look for any signs of mildew or mold, water penetration, or water stains. Be sure your roof and gutters are in good shape, and look in your crawl space. Check your faucets and be on the lookout for leaks. These are just a few simple steps that could save time and money in the long run.

We feel with those who are hurting, and encourage anyone who is able to support one of our local organized ways to help!

Labor Day Weekend Motorcycle Rally

Labor Day Weekend is upon us, which means the sound of motorcycles will soon follow! Every year, motorcycle enthusiasts flock to the Four Corners for a rally, and the events start this week. It’s a full weekend of activities, and Durango is the perfect location. For this weekend, especially, visitors can experience Durango, Ignacio, Bayfield/Vallecito, and even Silverton!

Today at Rusty Shovel Saloon will be $1 wings, and all day Thursday is “Thirsty Thursday” at Rusty Shovel Saloon.

On Friday, the weekend starts! Durango Harley Davidson will have food from Back Porch BBQ as well as live music. On Saturday, there will be free demo rides at Durango Harley Davidson, along with a poker chip run to Silverton, and more live music.

The Sky Ute Casino will have food and merchandise vendors, as well as American Warrior Games benefiting The Wounded Warrior Project.

There will even be street parties in Downtown Durango, featuring a beer garden and live music on Friday and Saturday evenings at Main Avenue and 10th Street.

On Sunday, the events and entertainment continue at Durango Harley Davidson, Sky Ute Casino, and Rusty Shovel Saloon.
For years, we’ve considered Labor Day weekend the rally weekend, and we are so glad to host so many visitors to our area. Take a look at the website for more information (, and enjoy the weekend!

Does It Make Sense to Use Your Home Equity?

If you’ve been following the La Plata County real estate market, you’ll see that the median sales price has increased since the bottom of the market several years ago. Many people bought their homes at or around this time, and since then have seen the equity grow in their investment. In fact, if you bought your home at the bottom of the La Plata County Real Estate market, you’ve seen the median sales price increase by $58,000 (number based off data from August 23, 2017). This is of course dependent on when you bought, and you may see variances, but it’s a fantastic example of the growth we’ve seen.

If this is your situation, but you’re not ready to sell your home or move up to the next size, it may be a good opportunity to consider using some of the equity for a remodel. Oftentimes, remodels increase a home’s value, keep up with home maintenance, or allow the homeowner more enjoyment while living in the home.

We wrote a blog a few months ago about the cost vs. value of home improvements ( )Here are some of the findings, but take a look at the website below for detailed information on general cost and value recouped per project and location:

  •  Generally, the lower-priced projects yield a higher payback (attic insulation, steel entry door replacement, and manufactured stone veneer are the top three projects for cost recouped, and within the five least expensive).
  • Some of the largest projects (upscale bathroom remodel, upscale master suite, two story addition, grand entrance, and family room) saw the largest increases year over year in value, potentially due to a strong real estate market.
  • “On average, the replacement projects sport a 74% return on investment, while our remodeling projects pay back just 63.7%.” (  Doors and windows fall into this category. This is key to note: home improvement is always crucial in a value of a home. Also, some of the most common home projects, such as a midrange bathroom addition, result in the lowest ROI in this report.

A remodel doesn’t always make sense, but sometimes it’s the right decision, especially if you live in an older home. We would encourage you to research and consider the data prior to a remodel. If you would like our opinion on what may make sense for your home or neighborhood, please contact us. We’d love to swing by sometime and discuss your home!

San Juan Brewfest –This Saturday!

Mark your calendar! This Saturday, August 26, is the 19th Annual San Juan Brewfest. The fun will be from 1-5 at Buckley Park in Downton Durango. This is the perfect location to enjoy the brews, then walk around downtown. The San Juan Brewfest benefits United Way of SW Colorado. Also, runners from the Thirsty 13 half marathon (which occurs that morning) can purchase discounted admission to the Brewfest!

There will be 50 breweries present, with several of our local breweries, including: BREW Pub and Kitchen, Carver Brewing Co, Durango Brewing Company, Animas Brewing Company, Ska Brewing, and more! Over 100 beers will be available! Durango features some amazing breweries, and this is a great way to sample several at one time. Or, taste from any of the visiting breweries to sample other great beers.

In addition to fantastic beer, the Brewfest features two bands: Dragondeer (a psych-blues band) and Farmington Hill (country-fried indie rock). There will also be food vendors available with food for purchase. So, you can make this a full afternoon with food, music, and tasting.

This year, childcare will even be available next door to the event with a discount price through Nifty Nanny. This is a great way for adults to have an enjoyable afternoon in Downtown Durango. We love to see events like the Brewfest continue in town. Our community is full of activities and events that are fun and benefit others. This is a local favorite—it combines beer, runners, and helps a local organization.