With mortgage rates at the highest they’ve been in 13.5 years, it’s not surprising that home buyers are becoming more discerning about when and if to make an offer on a home; even if it’s the perfect place.
Rising interest rates lower the amount of buying power; therefore, it’s important to feel confident about your home purchase and the features/amenities it offers. As the Denver real estate market has shifted, home buyers are now able to have more leverage when it comes to finding the perfect place to live and ultimately making an offer on a home.
And as a result, establishing a list of tips for finding the perfect place to live in Denver is imperative. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to develop criteria of what you desire in a home. Buying a home in Denver requires a thoughtful list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. A home purchase may be the largest cash expenditure you’ll make in your lifetime so it’s important to own a residence that provides comfort and a high level of happiness.
Neighborhoods are composed of many different elements. Zero in on what you need out of the area in which you’ll live. Denver neighborhoods vary in population density, lot size, and character. And adjacent neighborhoods may have completely different pricing, despite being separated by less than several hundred feet. For example, the distinction may be something substantial, like being in a coveted school district or featuring significant architecture.
Here are a few aspects to consider when evaluating neighborhoods and finding the perfect place to live in Denver.
Recreation and Entertainment Options May Dictate Home Choices
How do you like to spend your spare time? Urban neighborhoods in Denver are closer to the action when it comes to entertainment, sports, and cultural activities. Are these elements important to you? Or, are you an outdoor enthusiast who needs access to parks, trails, and open space? You may want to keep that in mind when determining where you would feel comfortable living. Having quick access to roads that lead to the foothills and mountains may be a top consideration for people who want to be outdoors.
School Districts are Important to Young Families
For many would-be home buyers, the home selection process boils down to the school district … period. The education of their children takes priority over the rest of the criteria. While some people have the privilege of sending their kids to private schools, the majority of parents rely on public schools to provide a quality schooling experience. For some, it means a move to the Denver suburbs; others take advantage of high-performing Denver Public Schools. Furthermore, many families relish the idea of their children being able to walk or bike to school and select their location based on proximity to the neighborhood schools.
Transportation Options Have Become More Important with Inflation
Rising gas prices are causing many to rethink how they are getting to work and car usage in general. Selecting a home that is closer to your place of work offers a way to reduce your energy use and save money in the process. Or, you may want to consider buying a home that is close to a light rail station or bus line. Keep in mind there are many bike lanes and paths that make bike commuting a much more feasible option to many people. And it’s great for your health!
Noise and Traffic are a Top Concern for Many Home Buyers
For many, finding a home that offers a quiet neighborhood, minimal traffic and tolerable noise levels are paramount. Many times, these homes are positioned on larger lots in areas outside the urban center. In other cases, they may be found on an oasis near the heart of downtown. You may want to check out locations at various times of the day and on weekends to determine how quiet the area is and whether there are any red flags.
Nearby Shopping and Restaurants May be Necessary
Accessing goods and services is an important consideration when selecting a home. Is a grocery store nearby or will you face a 10-15 minutes drive in heavy traffic? If you enjoy eating out, are there desirable restaurants within a mile or two of the home? And what about retail therapy? If you enjoy shopping for clothes and home accessories, are there businesses in the area that will fit the bill? Amenities like these can be a big factor in the home selection process.
Single-Family vs. Multifamily Living | What is Right for You?
Are you desiring low or no-maintenance living? For many first-time home buyers and those wishing to downsize, living in a townhome or condo frees up time for you to do more of the things you enjoy. If tending to a yard or taking care of home maintenance items is no longer a priority, you may want to consider a condo where the homeowners’ association takes care of the outside maintenance. However, if you have a growing family or need some privacy, a single-family home may be more appropriate. A homeowner can truly give their own signature to a single-family house. From paint color to landscaping, deck, and home additions, homeowners can tailor the property to suit their own tastes and needs.
Other Considerations When Determining the Perfect Location
Sometimes the less fashionable parts of deciding on the perfect place to live hold more weight in the long run, namely in the form of budgeting, saving money and maintaining a lifestyle. Here are a couple of key aspects to consider when deciding on the perfect place to live:
- HOA (Homeowners’ Association): These organizations can be lifesavers when it comes to setting standards for the neighborhood. By paying a monthly, quarterly or annual fee, homeowners are guaranteed that there is a certain level of maintenance and cohesiveness maintained in the neighborhood. It can be as minimal as snow removal, street maintenance and noise control, or as far-reaching as home exterior standards and car and trailer storage. You should be thoughtful about how much freedom you want to relinquish and how much the fees might increase in the future before committing to a home in an HOA.
- Property Taxes: Carefully research the homes on your list and know what kind of taxes you’ll be paying. Property taxes vary from city to county and fund a variety of entities including schools, libraries, fire departments, and recreation and sanitation districts. Know what you’ll be paying for and whether you can justify the expense.
- Homeowner’s Insurance: Depending upon the home’s location, your claim’s history and the integrity of the structure, homeowner’s insurance will impact your budget. It’s prudent to get a new quote each year from several companies to assure you aren’t overpaying. Also, be especially careful about rebuilding costs and how much you’ll be required to pay out-of-pocket if your home is a total loss as a result of fire or other major disasters.
Defining What “Perfect” Means to You
And lastly, it’s important to really think about what the “perfect” home is to you during this season of life. Is this your forever home? If so, your criteria will be a lot more strict. If it’s your starter home or home for the next 5-10 years, then you have more room to be flexible. Think through what you are willing to negotiate on since no property will be 100% perfect. Being cognisant of items that can be repaired or replaced (think roof, furnace, landscaping, etc.) versus items that can’t (e.g. the location, the lot size, or amount of outdoor space) can help you think through the permanence of your decision.
Your Usaj Realty Realtor can walk you through the pros and cons of each home that you like and help you weigh them in relation to your dreams for your future.