6th Annual WineFest at The Grange in The Meadows at Castle Rock

 2-jackie-wendy-at-the-winefest-in-castle-rock-coMark and I along with Jackie, our very good friend, attended the annual ‘Castle Rock WineFest 2009’  which was held yesterday, July 25th,  at The Grange located in The Meadows neighborhood in Castle Rock, Colorado and it was a blast!  The day was just gorgeous, with a slight wind and even the few drops of rain were welcomed.  The crowds were fun and there was a lot to do!  Twenty four Colorado wineries participated as well as a several culinary vendors.  Each ticket included a commemorative wine glass and a bag that had pockets to hold any bottles of wine one purchased during the event.  Each winery had a booth with samples of their offerings, water to rinse glasses and usually some sort of cracker to help cleanse your palate.  (Several wineries had run out of crackers and we hope that next year they will be better stocked.)  Personally, one of the best parts of wine tasting is watching people’s faces when they taste a wine that does not appeal to their palate!  Hilarious!  Great Fun! 

Black Eyed Pea Restaurant had a super dinner for the awesome price of $5.00 including dessert and were we ever ready for some food!  

The culinary booths of Aspen Leaf Gourmet and Pastamore II Bistro Blends offered a wide variety of intriguing vinegars, infused oils and grilling marinades. Sweet & Saucy Wine Sauces offered a large selection of flavored caramel and fudge sauces as well as wine flavored sauces. 

Several great demonstrations were available:

     – Flying Horse Catering’s Jody Miles showed us ‘The Art of Napkin Folding’

     – Tony’s Markets Chef, Mick Rosacci and Mike McNamara of Garfield Estate Winery teamed up to talk about ‘Pairing Wines with Foods’

     – Parker Blooms Florist’s own Peggy Roth showed us how to make great Floral Arrangements with flowers from our gardens

     – Uncorked  Chefs, Joe Beggs and Todd Friedman, demonstrated elegant ‘Summertime H’orderves’

3-cheers-from-the-2009-winefest-in-castle-rock-coAlso, two local restaurants held special dinners with wine parings as part of the Wine Fest. They are: The Union Bistro, located in downtown Castle Rock and La Dolce Vita, an Italian restaurant, located in the town of Castle Pines North just north of Castle Rock. The dinners were priced at $55 per person and both of these Wine Fest Dinners were completely SOLD OUT!   

The Castle Rock WineFest is a favorite, annual event of residents in Castle Rock, Castle Pines North, Highlands Ranch and Parker and is very well attended each year.  Check out the photos below…and next year make it your favorite event too!

The Richards Group at Keller Williams Realty offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in real estate transactions and homes for sale in Castle Rock, Colorado Real Estate and the entire Denver Metro area.

Let us help you find a home or sell a home! Give us a call at 720.733.1548 or toll-free at 877.337.0171.  We look forward to hearing from you!

009The Keller Williams Castle Rock Branch Office celebrated its new digs Saturday, August 20th, with an awesome Open House for the town of Castle Rock.  Keller Williams is located at 140 South Wilcox Street in downtown Castle Rock in the building that housed the former True Value Hardware store.  The Open House started at 10am and lasted until 3:00 pm in the afternoon and Mother Nature cooperated with a beautiful, clear, warm day-no rain!  All day long there was tremendous attendance of town folk and support from Castle Rock merchants.  Residents looked over hundreds of Keller Williams listings several people chose to visit properties right away…one property even got an Offer!  Children had a great time in the Bouncy House, making it a huge success.  Another favorite of the kids were the two face painters that painted everything from butterfly faces to Denver Bronco logos on the children’s faces and arms.  Capital Title, who has an office at Keller Willliams, graciously provided a band and karaoke, which was a load of fun for all! Capital also treated us to a few songs from Melanie Lawson’s daughter and son (who sang on American Idol).  The owner of the Iconic Nail Spa provided a wonderful Vietnam dish of noodles, broccoli and nuts, which wound up on many a hot dog in place of sauerkraut!  It was delish!   🙂  Food was free for all –  hot dogs, provided by Dave Hickey of Security Title, and there were chips, cookies, sodas and lots of water.  Attendees signed up to enter drawings for free prizes – donated by participating town merchants.  The ‘Silent Auction’ was a great success and so were the items up for bid.  Some of the items in the Silent Auction were pre-season tickets for both the Bronco vs. Chicago Bears and the Broncos vs. the Phoenix Cardinals games.  In regular season games, there were several tickets for the highly sought after Bronco vs. Oakland Raider game! Bronco tickets donated to the Silent Auction by Realtor/Owners Ed Stammel and Geoff Gray.  There was a beautiful arrangement of plants from the Castle Pines Florist, two one-hour sessions with Interior Designer, Ingrid Miller of Plum Creek Interiors, a unique plane ride over Castle Rock Offered by Pilot/Realtor Brad Grant and a home inspection by donated by Home Team Inspection Service.  Perry Point Liquor Owner, Chen, donated a case of wine made up of both red and white wine offerings.  Aside from Castle Rock residents and merchants, also present were the owners of the Keller Williams Castle Rock Office:  Charles D’Alessio (Operating Principal), Ed Stammel (head of the Commercial Division), Paul Foster, Margaret Scott (Office Leader), Geoff & DeAnn Gray, Bob Speaker and, yours truly,  Mark & Wendy Richards.  Of course, the entire office of 50 agents were also present to give tours to visitors, answer questions and help the many walk-in-clients that attended this Grand Opening!  Many thanks go to all the merchants who helped in welcoming the Keller Williams Castle Rock Branch Office to the south end of Castle Rock!  Listed below are all the merchants (in alphabetical order) who participated and hope you will support their businesses as well as Keller Williams in the future!

Acaicai Studio

Avon – Thelma Minnie

Capital Title

Castle Pines Florist                                       


DazBog Coffee

Fire Department of Castle Rock

Home Team Inspection Service

Iconic Nail Spa

Jessie Hodges Barbeque Sauce

Nettie’s Vitamin Plus        

Outback Steakhouse

Perry Point Liquors

Play It Again Sports

Plum Creek Interiors – Ingrid Miller

Premier Jewelry – May Jackson

Security Title Company

Shelter Insurance Companies

Skin Care by Kara

Siena in the Courtyard Restaurant

Starkey Mortgage

Well Within Chiropractic

Wild Hair Salon




 New Keller Williams Office in Castle Rock, CO!

Save the Date!!

 Keller Williams - Castle Rock, CO


f you live in the towns of Castle Rock, Larkspur, Franktown or Parker keep your calendar open on August 22nd, 2009 from 10am-2pm.  Why?  It is the Grand Opening of the NEW Keller Williams Real Estate Castle Rock Office!  Keller Williams has been in Castle Rock for 4 years and has made its mark on the town by participating with other merchants to make Castle Rock a great place to live.  Keller Williams has also been very proactive in supporting the Women’s Crisis and Family Outreach Center giving them the proceeds from an all Agent ‘garage sale’ and The Richards Group held a paper drive in the Meadows to fill a specific need for the Center.  Keller Williams is known for its outstanding and continuing agent training and is committed to providing you, the public, with the most knowledgeable and experienced agents possible.  We are now the largest office in both Realtor® count and office square footage and we are on the Grow!  Our Grand Opening is open to all and you won’t want to miss the fun, food, activities and giveaways for all.  We are going to have a bouncy house for the kids to play in and hopefully a petting zoo too!  Our neighboring merchants are joining in to welcome us to their ‘block’ in downtown Castle Rock and are participating in our Grand Opening!  Keller Williams is now the third largest Real Estate Company in the Country having surpassed Re/Max earlier this year.  Watch for our Grand Opening Invitation in the Douglas County News-Press in August, 2009.  Our New office is located in the old True Value Hardware store located at 140 South Wilcox… just south of the Castle Rock Library.

The Richards Group of Keller Williams Real Estate offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in real estate transactions in the Metro Denver area. Contact us at 720-733-1548 for real estate assistance.



What it is        A conventional bank portfolio loan Wells Fargo offers as part of our commitment to the Community Reinvestment Act

Customer Benefits

        NO monthly mortgage insurance or upfront mortgage insurance premiums

        – Can use gift funds or down payment assistance for down payment and or closing costs

        – No pre-payment penalty

        – Seller can pay up to 6% for closing costs

Loan Information

        – No title seasoning requirements

        – Up to 98% LTV

        – Only need one year of continuous employment- self employed included

        – Minimum credit score 620

        – Income limits for most counties is $60,800 for a 1-4 person household

        – No reserve requirement

        – Non-traditional credit allowed

Eligible Transactions

        – Purchases only

Eligible Products

        – 30 year fixed

The CDMP which is a great loan program. There are changes being made to this loan on Monday the 15th. The information above reflects the changes. If you have questions about any type of loan (or down payment assistance), including, but not limited to FHA, VA, conventional, CDMP, renovation, or jumbo, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have the knowledge and want to be your resource. Thank you, and please let us know what we can do to assist you.


VA Loans are a benefit for Military Personnel (active duty, veterans, reservists, surviving spouses).  VA will guarantee up to 25% of the mortgage.

Customer Benefits

  • Eligible for 100% financing under most circumstances
  • No monthly mortgage insurance
  • No Pre-Payment Penalty
  • No minimum FICO Score
  • Seller can pay closing costs
  • No limit on “non-recurring” closing costs (appraisal, credit, etc) or discount points with 4% limit on funding fee, pre-paids or buy-down funds

Funding Fee

  • Similar to FHA Up Front Mortgage Insurance
  • Amount of Funding fee is based on service type, prior use, and transaction type. If borrower is a disabled veteran (VA must certify), then funding fee is waived
  • Funding fee may be financed or paid in cash


  • Entitlement is the dollar amount of the guaranty available to the veteran
  • Veteran with full entitlement can often purchase a home with zero down payment
  • Certificate of Eligibility will document available entitlement

 Loan Limits

  • FHLMC Conforming Loan limit (currently $417,000)

 Eligible Transactions

  • Purchase
  • Full Refinance (Rate/Term, Cash Out) or IRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Loan) – VA “Streamline” Refinance

 Eligible Borrowers

  • U.S. Citizens, Permanent Resident Aliens, and non-Permanent Resident Aliens
  • Co-Borrower must be borrower’s spouse
  • If co-borrower is not the borrower’s spouse, this is considered a “joint loan”. Guaranty will be based on veteran’s portion of the loan (often requiring a down payment).

 Eligible Products

  • 20-30 Year Fixed, 15 Year Fixed, 3/1 ARM, and 5/1 ARM


  • Eligible Properties: Single Family, 2-4, Condos, Manufactured Homes, New or Existing Construction
  • Condominium projects MUST BE approved by VA (no spot approvals)

The current real estate market is not only a great opportunity for first time home buyers but also for “move up” buyers. The link below contains a great article that does a nice job of explaining the advantages of “moving/buying up” in a buyer’s market. Although one may not get the same amount for their current home as they may have two years ago when they sell, if they buy a larger house, they will be getting it at an even deeper discount (more than making up for the loss on the sale of the current home) and when the market begins to accelerate again, the appreciation on the larger, more expensive home will be greater.


On another note, you may have heard that first time home buyers will be able to use the $8,000 tax credit up front as down payment toward the purchase of a home rather than wait to claim it on their tax returns on the back end. This was suggested by the secretary of FHA, Shaun Donovan, and would only effect FHA loans. This has NOT been approved and no plan has been set forth. Apparently Secretary Donovan mistakenly let this slip at a press conference, however, there is no definitive plan or timetable for such a program. I will certainly keep you posted on any update regarding this.

Please let us know if you have any questions.  And, of course, if you know anyone who is interested in buying, selling or investing in real estate in the Denver area, please put us in touch with them.  We will take exceptional care of your referrals.


The Richards Group of Keller Williams Realty offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in real estate transactions in the Metro Denver area.

Contact us for Real Estate Assistance!

Elizabeth Stampede

Elizabeth Stampede

Cindy and I took a break from Denver, Douglas and Elbert County Real Estate and again attended the Elizabeth Stampede with our grandchildren in Elizabeth, Colorado.  I must say “WOW” that was a great weekend of food, music, weather, meeting friends and of course great rodeos filled our first weekend in June. We did have a chance this year to attend the opening night of the Professional Bull Riders event on June 5th, and throughout the rest of the weekend we had our share of rodeos and cowboys. This year we invited our grandkids as they are now at the age to appreciate Old Western activities. I enjoyed it when my Dad took me to the rodeo and circus, so I knew my family would enjoy the Stampede, AND they did.

We started Saturday off with the parade followed by Elizabash. I was surprised at how long the parade actually lasted over and hour at least. As my grandkids gathered handfuls of candy, I marveled at the royalty girls and their horses. People from all over Denver, Castle Rock, Parker and Franktown were there to enjoy the parade as well.

Elizabash was definitely more than I expected. Booths lined Main Street as well as food vendors, petting zoos, merchants and yes a Real Estate Booth. My wife Cindy is a sucker for unique shops like chickadees and the antique shop, took her time exploring the items on display as I chowed down on a turkey leg and beer. While strolling down Main Street, I noticed the family atmosphere the Elizabash brought to the community of Elizabeth. Some kids are slurping on free snow cones as other kids are petting baby sheep and goats in the petting zoo, all with huge smiles on their faces. There is no place like Colorado!

I again chowed down on another turkey leg and my second beer. I knew then I wanted to be a Bull Rider. So, next on our agenda was the afternoon Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event. My six year old grandson knew the rodeo was where the real fun began. When those cowboys rode the bulls in the PRCA rodeo on Saturday he could barely sit still in his seat. He also knew at that time he wanted to be a Bull Rider too. His Mother wishing he would forget that dream and switch to Mutton Bustin asked me to get that idea out of his head and go get another turkey leg and beer.

I am not what one you would call a cowboy, but as my time in Elizabeth continues I cannot help but daydream about being a real cowboy, wearing the hat and the boots, hopping on my horse and riding off into the beautiful sunset in Douglas and Elbert County. This year the Elizabeth Stampede was a blast and the best part was enjoying it with my family. Not only did we attend a great rodeo, but we also enjoyed a fun community event, rock & roll band, dancing, and oh yes Turkey Legs and Beer.

Bob Speaker


Residents of Denver Colorado real estate have for years been ranked as fittest and healthiest in the nation.  They appreciate the fabulous recreation and pristine nature along the Front Range and want the community to find ways to sustain the environment.  Many are asking for green real estate in Denver and others are adapting their existing Denver CO homes to be more energy efficient.

Enter the first annual Denver Green FestivalTM scheduled for May 2-3, 2009 at the expanded Denver Convention Center.  It is a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America who believe that sustainable communities lead to a thriving planet by offering positive options that make our world safer and cleaner.

The Community Action Center, A venue designed to network the initiatives of neighbors, community non-profit organizations, and departments of the City of Denver, will open up conversations and ways to make the already spectacular city a healthier place to live.

A long list of speakers, presenters, workshops, and demonstrations are scheduled to participate.  There will be live local musicians and performers including garage bands, high school string quartets, a cappella groups, children’s dance troupes, and so much more.  Families will enjoy fun and education activities at the Green Kids’ Zone and the Teen Unity Pavilion.

A special Green Home and Building Pavilion will be interesting for everyone including residents of small urban apartments or large country estates.  This is the place to learn how to make a home environment healthier and more efficient.  And the Fair Trade Pavilion will feature products from farmers and artisans.  Proceeds go to ensure that producers earn living wages that enable them to take care of their families, grow their businesses, and maintain a healthy environment.

The Denver Green FestivalTM is striving to become a zero-waste event.  Seven-Star, Inc., America’s green event experts, is organizing and managing the landfill diversion, product conversion, and carbon offsetting for each Green Festival.  With the help of volunteers, the organization is able to divert record-breaking amounts of waste from ending up in landfills.  Some of their initiatives are worth imitating: from e-waste receptacles to recycled signage and other materials to offsetting electricity, to greener modes of transportation to eliminating the use of plastic water bottles and more.

Richards Realty Group of Keller Williams Realty offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in real estate transactions in cities along the Front Range.

Contact us Toll Free at (877) 337-0171 for real estate assistance

Denver Water Saver TipDenver Water is hoping Denver residential home owners will take a closer look at the toilets in their Denver homes. Okay it sounds a little strange but checking for leaks can save water and money. Toilets are usually the biggest water using device in the home and they account for nearly 30% of indoor water usage in a typical Denver home. Denver Water says that even a tiny leak can waste between 100 and 250 gallons of water every day. According to Denver Water the best way to check for a leak is to put several drops of food coloring in the water tank, do not flush the toilet for at least 30 minutes, come back and check the water in the bowl. If it’s colored there’s a leak! Denver Water also wants to remind customers about a program to help pay for low flow toilets. If you replace your old toilet with a more efficient one you can get a rebate of between $25 and $125. Those newer toilets can use between 50 and 75% less water! It’s not just water… It’s a way of life! To find out how to participate in that rebate program contact Denver Water at…

Denver Water
1600 West 12th Avenue
Denver, CO 80204-3412
Customer Care: 303.893.2444


The Richards Group of Keller Williams Real Estate offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in real estate transactions in the Denver Metro area. Contact us Toll Free at 877-337-0171 for real estate assistance.

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