Why Not Retire in Denver?

Why Not Retire in Denver?

Colorado is the third fastest-aging state in the country, and more and more people are heading toward retirement in the Mile High City. And no wonder: The Denver area has lots to offer: a good job market, stable economy, diverse housing options, a sunny, dry climate, and countless community and outdoor activities.

Who’s Retiring in Denver These Days?

Colorado saw big population growth from 1970–1980, and now the Baby Boomer generation is aging into retirement

Over the past five or six years, many transplants have arrived in Denver, thanks to all its advantages. Some of them are younger families who entice their parents or grandparents to come to Denver as well, at least part-time.

The Benefits of Retiring in Denver

The Denver area has a lot to offer for those entering their golden years.

It has a strong job market and therefore excellent opportunities for consulting and other part-time gigs or “side hustles.” Since many people heading into retirement still want or need to work, this is a definite plus. You have mainstay industries in Colorado such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and tourism; as well as science labs, universities, health care, and of course the burgeoning tech and cannabis industries.

The climate is great. Spend a winter in Denver and you’ll never want to go back to the East Coast for those dreary months. It’s sunny most days, and even when it’s cold, it’s pleasant if you’re in the sun. As for summers, while it does get hot, it’s a dry heat and not so oppressive, especially in the shade.

Outdoors galore! The Rockies are a quick drive from Denver and even closer to some of Colorado’s suburbs and mountain towns. The mountains provide beautiful scenery for biking, hiking, golfing, boating, camping—you name it.  

Culture is alive and well. Downtown museums, arts districts, gardens, music festivals, universities, Red Rocks, and many historical sites—Denver has a thriving cultural scene.

Mentoring, volunteering, and teaching opportunities abound with numerous schools, universities, and community centers.

There are plenty of accommodation for seniors. This fast-growing sector of the population has theColorado Senior Lobby to keep senior initiatives and interests, such as the senior property tax exemption, front and center at the state capitol.

Senior Real Estate in Denver 

Denver area real estate has lots to offer in terms of houses, neighborhoods, and prices for every budget. You have historical neighborhoods such as Washington Park and Park Hill, easy and convenient Cherry Creek, hip and trendy Highlands, and downtown vibes at Five Points and Capitol Hill. Adjacent Jefferson, Douglas and Arapahoe Counties offer even more options for those who want more space or less city.

Want to learn about Denver neighborhoods? Request a Denver neighborhood market report or schedule a call to find out more about different areas.

Looking for a home in Denver CO?

Interested in finding homes for sale in Denver CO? Click link to find all the currently available homes in Denver CO. 

55+ Communities

If you’re looking for assisted living or retirement communities in or near Denver, you’ll find an overwhelming array of options and prices, and the prospect of beginning this search can be daunting. Whether you’re thinking about the short or long term, assisted or independent living, renting or buying, it’s a good idea to talk to a specialist who can help assess your needs, consider all the factors, and help you navigate your options. A certified SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) professional with an established network of service providers is a good first step, so just click to schedule a call or dial 720.514.9540 to chat.

Just want to look around? Click here to see 55+ active listings for sale in Denver Colorado.

Aging in Place

Aging in place is great for folks who are in their “forever home” and don’t want to move. Keep in mind that as we age, needs change, and often modifications and adjustments need to be made to the property. Fortunately there are many senior services that have sprung up to serve this growing need.

Have equity in your home but need cash? The reverse mortgage can be a great financial tool. Click here for an informative booklet on Downsizing vs Reverse Mortgage or call 720.514.9540 to find out how much your Denver home is worth and see if it’s a good option.

Aging in place in Denver is a great idea—if you’re in the right home. If you’re not, let us help. I’ll listen and ask questions to find out your needs, and then put my neighborhood expertise to work to help you find your dream Denver home.

Downsizing

Maybe your current house is too big. Maybe its mortgage and property taxes are too high, or it’s too much work to maintain, or it’s not in an ideal location for this new chapter of life. Downsizing your housing, space-wise and/or price-wise, can help “right-size” for your lifestyle and budget.

Need to sell your home to get into the right spot? Experience counts! Get in touch to find out when will be the best time to list your Denver home.

Denver too dear? Click for a list of best towns to retire on a budget in Colorado.

Want to Know More?

Colorado and Denver have a lot to offer you for your golden years. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch at 720.514.9540!

Best Time to Sell a House in Denver 2018

Real Estate Price Trends in Denver CO

Circumstances often dictate when we need to move, and there are ways to position your listing so it gets the best price in any market. With careful analysis and with good advice, you can make a good real estate move in any season. (Scroll down to see what happens when you need to sell in January.)

But really, when’s the best time to sell a house in Denver CO?

While we can’t predict exactly when the prices will peak each year, we can predict price fluctuations from season to season. So if you have the flexibility, with good foresight and planning, you can position your listing so it hits the price wave on an incline.

Let’s take a look at median prices over five years for the entire MLS, which includes the Front Range.

Here we see a nice, upward trajectory for median home sale prices. But a closer look shows that the median price fluctuates regularly from season to season, too. This chart shows an uptick in price every spring moving into summer (when demand is highest), which peaks in May or June, and then declines through fall and winter.

It’s interesting to note that Denver real estate price patterns differ from the region as a whole. Here’s a chart for median price in the city of Denver.

For the past five years, Denver real estate prices have seen a second regular price uptick occur in the fall — usually around November. In 2016, for example, prices almost matched the summer high on the fall uptick. And median real estate prices in Denver in October 2017 beat July of the same year by $1000.

So far Denver real estate prices in 2018 have topped out in May at $449,000. But if we stay on trend, we should get another fall uptick. 

If you are ready to list your Denver home this fall or anytime within the next year, let’s talk! Email now or just call 720.514.9540.

Keep in mind, tactics may be different for different properties. Timing with regards to price and condition will be key to getting you the best price for your Denver home.

What if you have to sell at an inopportune time?

From Personal Experience… 

Husband and I sold our own place in January, and we came out ok! We had purchased new construction in December. We were fortunate to be able to buy before selling the house  we lived in at the time… but we did need to sell quickly after we moved to access the equity and pay off a bridge loan. So, we listed the house in early January – which is consistently when you see the lowest median price points every year.

Fortunately, it was a strong seller’s market, and so in spite of the timing, we got a full-price contract in about a week’s time. The buyers did manage to talk us down after the home inspection, which we probably wouldn’t have had to tolerate if we’d waited a few months for the market to heat up. But we got our asking price with a $3000 inspection concession in the dead of winter –and we were able to move on with our new place. Point being: in a hot sellers market like Denver, the market will help you come out ahead. Get in touch now if you’re thinking of selling your Denver home or would like a free home valuation.

Our first place in Capitol Hill, Washington DC 

Chefs for Seniors in Denver CO

As an SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) I meet lots of people who service the senior industry in Denver CO. I recently had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Denise Huff, a franchise owner of Chefs for Seniors.

Chefs for Seniors matches you with a personal chef in your area, who will prepare customized, nutritious meals for the week for you in your home. It’s kind of like having a dietary consultant, meal planner and chef all in one.

In a world of Blue Aprons and Hello Fresh, (popular meal delivery services), this service takes it to the next level. For one, you get a personal consultation with a skilled chef (and nutritional expert) where you’ll tailor a menu according to your taste and dietary requirements. The chef does all the shopping and then comes back to cook the meals in your home.

The service started out with seniors in mind, but there are no restrictions on who may use it. It seems like a great option for new parents, or anyone going through a “busy phase,” who doesn’t have time to cook. It’s certainly cheaper and most likely more healthy than eating out or ordering in all the  time.

How Does it Work?

The initial consultation is free with no obligation to use the service. Denise has experience and knowledge on diets suitable for people with diabetes and other health conditions, so you can come up with a plan that works for you.

Once the menu is decided, Denise does the shopping and comes back at a designated time to cook – usually for about two hours. After that, you’ll have at least a week’s worth of tasty, ready-to-eat meals. You might have more than a week, depending on the plan and number of people she’s cooking for.

More about DeniseDenise is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of the Arts and worked at various fine restaurants around the country for 25 years. In 2004 she returned to the Denver area to be closer to family. When she started cooking for her father, who needed help after her mom had passed, she saw firsthand the need for this service that she was able to provide.

For fun we did an interview.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare and why? I don’t have a favorite, really… I just like cooking their favorite dish.   

What’s your favorite healthy dessert? Berries and yoghurt or whipped cream

What’s the best part about your job? I love helping people and connecting with my clients. And I love getting to know them on a personal level over food.  

What’s your favorite restaurant in the area? Cracovia – it’s a Polish restaurant. My husband is of German descent so there’s a bit of a connection there.  

When someone else is cooking, what’s your favorite dish? I’m a sucker for a steak, or anything cooked on the grill.

How much does it cost for a regular session with you? Standard service is $100, plus the cost of groceries.  

Can I buy a session for a friend or relative? Absolutely, people do this all the time. You can buy gift cards online. (Click here

If you want to learn more about Chefs for Seniors, email Denise here or click here for a no-obligation consultation in your home. 

Worried about a loved one? Here are five signs your loved ones aren’t eating right.

How to Make Money with a Short-Term Rental

Thinking of investing in real estate? Let’s talk! 

The most popular short-term rental platform is Airbnb, so in this article I’ll use “Airbnb” and “short-term rental” interchangeably. Other popular platforms include VRBO and HomeAway. And here are a few alternatives, some with different focuses. 

Want to be an Airbnb Host?

You can make a lot of money! But it’s a lot of work.  

It can be mean extra income from a spare bedroom (or even a couch) and, when taken to greater scale, it can mean a higher income than a traditional long-term rental. 

Greater reward usually brings greater risk and/or more work, so it’s important to be aware of all the considerations — logistical, legal, tax-wise and otherwise – that running a short-term rental entails. 

I recently attended a class forum about short-term rentals, where every speaker was a hands-on expert in the industry. Longtime hosts, property managers, a lawyer, an insurance rep, marketing experts and a mortgage guy talked about the nuts and bolts of the industry and offered practical advice on how to make money in this somewhat new and quickly evolving cottage industry. 

Here are the main points discussed.  

Expert Advice on Short-Term Rental Hosting 

Legal implications. You’ll need to apply for a business license. Pay attention to your local zoning and regulations. Since this is a newer industry, laws are still evolving and vary greatly by jurisdiction. 

Denver and many other large cities now require that your short-term rental property be your primary residence. So you can really only rent it out part time (while traveling or vacationing) or just rent part of your house (like a bedroom or a couch) to a wayfaring stranger. Do some people flout this rule? Probably. But you’ll be paying taxes on this money, so in order to keep business above board it’s best to follow the rules. 

I hear Englewood has less stringent requirements — meaning you could rent out a second home– at least for now. The primary residence rule, which might seem kind of strict, is to protect long-term rental supply for residents who actually live here. 

Thinking of investing in real estate? I can help! Get in touch and let’s talk. 

Insurance. Opening up your place to renters opens it up to more liability. As an Airbnb host in Denver or elsewhere, you can be denied a claim if you’re not upfront about your property usage. Not all insurance companies offer policies that allow this type of use, so do your research and find a good, local provider. The insurance provider who hosted this forum does allow for this type of coverage. (Shout out to Lisa Kerin-Welch at Community & Family Insurance). 

Management. Traditional long-term rentals are more “set it and forget it,” while short-term rentals require much more attention. High turnover means frequent cleaning, supplies upkeep, and more frequent guest communication and assistance. To keep full occupancy and maximize your profits you’ll need time to market your place, and you’ll have to spend significant time working on the books – recording expenses, paying taxes, etc. 

Fortunately there are property managers who can do this for you. Costs vary but you might expect to pay 10% -15% of your rental income for a manager, depending on the agreement and services provided.

Expenses. You may have the aforesaid management fees, and of course the platform service fees (Airbnb charges 3% but there are different plans available). Don’t forget taxes, insurance, cleaning, upkeep, and supplies.

As a broker who’s been through boom and bust cycles, I believe real estate investment is a solid wealth-building strategy. If you’re an investor or would like to become one, please contact me and let’s come up with a plan to fit your budget and needs.

More Tips on Hosting Successful Short-Term Rentals

  • Make sure your place looks fabulous and get professional pics
  • Be an excellent host. Get five-star reviews so you attract the most visitors. 
  • Become a super host. 
  • Allow pets for higher occupancy (charge a pet fee).
  • Keep on good terms with your neighbors and/or the HOA board. 
  • Guests sign an Accommodation Agreement in addition to the hosting site agreement. 
  • Use security cameras on exterior — make sure to disclose this to your guests. 
  • Market on Instagram. Have your guests tag you and market for you. 

Short-Term Rental Pros 

  • Neater place – your place stays well maintained and ideally updated
  • It’s fun to meet people and host 

Short-Term Rental Cons 

  • Inconsistent cash flow 
  • High expenses

Is There a Denver Real Estate Market Slowdown?

Historical trends show that real estate markets are cyclical. Since Denver real estate prices have been going up steadily for the past eight years, is it time for a downturn?

Is there a real estate market shift headed our way?

Lately we’ve noticed that properties are staying on the market longer and there are more price reductions. This is partly due to the seasonal slowdown that happens every year. But general demand may also be slowing, for a few reasons we’ll discuss below.

Buyers looking elsewhere. Denver area residents are searching for homes elsewhere, at least according to their Internet habits. Outbound searches favor Colorado Springs and Fort Collins these days, in addition to areas out of state. Affordability is likely a big reason why. 

Interest rates steady up, and expected to continue their slow climb for the rest of this year and next. Global unrest in places like Turkey and the new tariffs set by the president may affect rates — but it’s too soon to tell which way.

Supply is still short. Denver still doesn’t have enough supply, and the shortage may last for up to 10 years. (Though I’ve met a few Denverites who wouldn’t mind if some people left). Will Denver keep attracting new people (and hold the folks who live here?)   

For now, it’s safe to say that the market still favors sellers — but it could be easing up a bit, which is good news for buyers.

I’ll be watching this fall to see if we get the usual second price uptick.

Thinking to Sell your Denver home? Learn how to get the very best price and keep your closing costs down. 

Thinking to Buy a house in Denver? Work with experienced agent who knows how to make your offer stand out in a crowd. Find out how.

Looking for a home in Denver CO?

Interested in finding homes for sale in Denver CO? Click link to find all the currently available homes in Denver.

Should I Buy Real Estate in a Sellers Market?

If you’re looking to buy a house in Denver, you’ve probably heard that the market is tough. With short inventory and prices on the up and up, the Denver real estate market has been favorable to sellers for eight years now.

The big question for would-be buyers is, will Denver real estate prices continue to rise? Or is there a chance that prices will soften, creating a more buyer-friendly market?

Of course we don’t know any answers for certain, but let’s examine some of the indicators that could affect Denver real estate price trends.

Denver Real Estate Market Indicators

Low Inventory has been the biggest driver for increasing prices. For a variety of reasons, not enough housing has been built and we could be facing a shortage for another ten years.

Demand Denver’s strong job market and attractive lifestyle has been attracting people from other parts of the country for several years, and population in the city is up by more than 100,000 in the last seven years. Population growth is showing signs of slowing though, and more people are looking elsewhere in Colorado or elsewhere in the country. This may cause less pressure from the demand side, which is good news for buyers.

Interest Rates trending up. Not drastically, but some. If they go up half a percent, they’ll make xxx difference in payment this year versus next year.

You can find a property!With demand pressure slowing a bit, prices may slow their appreciation levels. But pent-up demand will keep the market steady and likely prices won’t fall. Given interest rate increases, buyers likely won’t gain by waiting.

Looking for a home in Denver CO?

Interested in finding homes for sale in Denver CO? Click link to find all the currently available homes in Denver.

Tips for Buying in a Competitive Buyer’s Market

  • Make house hunting a priority
  • Get ready –finances and paperwork ready
  • Be flexible with the Seller
  • Make the deal stick – seller may have backups
  • Work with an experienced agent who knows how to negotiate
  • Offer strong earnest money deposit and downpayment

Real estate search will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Your best real estate move is to get someone experienced, who will stay on the ball for you and give you the information you need. 

Home Insurance Tips in Colorado

What You Need to Know

Insurance isn’t the most exciting topic but when you need it, you are glad you have it. 

This week I had the chance to interview Lisa Kerin-Welch, an agent and business growth director at Community & Family Insurance.   

Here are some of the takeaways from our talk. 

Most common claim in Colorado – The most common claim in Colorado comes from hail damage. We also see a lot of fire, theft, liability claims, wind, and water damage losses. 

Roofs are important – Buyers should pay attention to age, quality and features (ie, type and layers) of the roof. 

Side note: The hailstorm in May of 2017 was the costliest ever in Colorado, with $2.3 B worth of damages claimed. If you’re up for a new roof, consider hail-resistant material.

Flood insurance – Required by lenders if your property is located in a flood plain, but a homeowner can elect to obtain flood insurance at any time. Make sure to use an authorized agent of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. You can look up any property here on this map here to see if it’s in a flood zone. Your insurance carrier will do the same. 

Market value does not determine the insurance value of the property. Property insurance only pays to rebuild the physical structure. It does not pay off a mortgage note. Work with a trusted local agent who can adequately assess the replacement value of your property. 

Side Note: Colorado has laws in place requiring insurers to provide additional living expense (ALE) coverage of no less than 12 months, which is nice.

Most common “uncovered” issue? Valuable personal property items (like jewelry) that could have been scheduled, but weren’t. (It’s not hard to get a rider to add some jewelry, but you will need a current appraisal). Also maintenance issues, like water seepage/leakage (some carriers have options for endorsement coverages here). So don’t ignore those issues! Here’s a handy year-round maintenance schedule.


How about Condos? You’ll have an individual policy for your unit and you’ll be paying your portion of the Master Policy, for the building and all the common elements, with your condo fees. Where and when coverage applies, including which party is responsible, is strictly determined by the HOA documents. A claim on your individual policy might be if your dishwasher overflows and destroys your floor and your neighbor’s ceiling, where the building’s master policy would kick in in the case of hail damage to the roof.   

Money saving strategies

  • Home insurance is deductible. 
  • Insurance bundling, such as insuring your home and auto with the same carrier, will maximize your discounts.  
  • Shop your household for the most competitive policy at each renewal.
  • Work with a trusted local insurance broker, who can advise you on the best policy to fit your needs

From the Mortgage Front

From the Mortgage Front

Posted October 28, 2018

Looking for a home in Denver? Schedule a call now and let’s talk! Had coffee the other day with a lender friend, Turner Williams of AmeriFirst Financial. He gave me the lowdown on Denver’s real estate market from the loan officer perspective. Here are some of the takeaways. 

Shifting Market, Rising Rates – The big factors right now affecting home mortgages in Denver are the shifting market conditions and of course increasing interest rates. Rates are edging closer to 5%, and they won’t go down again for the foreseeable future.

We’re expecting continued price appreciation in Denver, but likely at a slower pace than we’ve been seeing. So it’s important for serious buyers to understand that there is urgency in today’s market for buyers to catch the best rate and maximize their buying power. 

Low Down Payments?
Turner has a couple of conventional loan, 3% down payment offerings with the same rates as 20% down, and you can buy out of the monthly MI (mortgage insurance).

How About Jumbo Loan Rates?

He says there are still great deals on jumbo loans also. While they have 5 and 10% down jumbo loans available, 15% is more of a sweet spot — good fixed rates with no MI.

Rates for 10-year ARMs can still be bought down to the low 4s and represent a lot of value. And the always popular 30-year fixed rates are in the middle-upper 4s.

Fall and winter can be a great time for buyers. While inventory is typically lower than summer months, this year it’s up over last year. And sellers are usually serious if they’re listing this time of year — meaning they could be more willing to negotiate. It could be a great time for buyers to get price reductions or the all-important closing cost credit from sellers, which help save cash. 

Turner’s great advice for buyers: On that first weekend snow day while everyone else is hitting the slopes– get out there and go find your house! 

Looking for a home in Denver? Schedule a call now and let’s talk! 

In the past few years, it’s been a tough market for buyers,with short inventory and extreme competition. Now that the market is becoming more friendly for buyers, it’s a good time to jump in. 

Give me a call at 720.514.9540 to let me help you find your dream home! 

Why First-Time Homebuyers Should Think Like Investors

It’s exciting to buy your first home! You’ll have a place to call your own, and ideally you’ll meet at least most of the criteria you set for your first abode.

While bells and whistles are great, smart first-time homebuyers also keep in mind the big picture in order to maximize the wealth-building opportunity that real estate provides. For this reason, first-time homebuyers should buy with the intention of holding the property for the longer term, and renting it out once they’ve “outgrown” it themselves.

Looking for a place in Denver? Click here to see Denver housing inventory in your price range.

Today’s housing shortage isn’t going away anytime soon. And over time, real estate ownership and investment has been an accessible way for the “little guy” to get ahead and build wealth.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages first-time homebuyers have in the market, and how their home purchase can be used to benefit not only their immediate, but also long term financial picture.

First-time Homebuyer Advantages

Programs & Incentives
Many cities across the US offer incentives to help first-time homebuyers get in the door. Here’s a link to first-time homebuyer programs in Colorado which offer downpayment and closing cost assistance and lower cost loans.

Mortgage lenders love owner-occupants, as they are lower-risk buyers than investors. As a result, lendersgive them the best loan terms. Lenders also may offer first-time incentives, so be sure and ask.

Flexible Lifestyle, Less Baggage
As a first-time buyer, it’s likely you’re in a more flexible phase of life, which can be an advantage if you’re on a tight budget. A smaller household means you can opt for a smaller place, or may have fewer location restrictions. If you’re not worried about school districts, or less stringent on the number of bedrooms you need, perhaps you can opt for a compact and centrally-located condo, or a place in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood, (with positive growth signs).

Thinking Like an Investor

The eventual goal is to build equity in a property while you–and then someone else–pay the mortgage. You’ll want break-even or positive cash flow in the rental scenario, in an area with appreciation potential. This is the fastest way to grow your asset, which will then allow options for you in the future (baby’s college fund, perhaps? Retirement nest egg?). You’ll want to pay attention to certain indicators to make sure it’ll be a good rental property in the future. 


Look at the Map
It sounds simplistic, but the “Location, location, location” adage holds true for renters and buyers. Consider spots which offer easy access to highways, transportation, and/or job centers like hospitals, universities, government buildings, and airports.

Neighborhoods with Potential
Pay attention to who’s moving there. Young, salary-earning residents with income potential are good signs for neighborhood improvement. Is there new development on the horizon? If you see yoga studios and hip Korean fried chicken joints, the neighborhood has probably already “arrived” but may still be affordable. Do some research and listen to your gut.

Imperfect Properties
Remember, you won’t live in this place forever. And if you can tolerate an imperfection that another buyer wouldn’t, you might be able to get a good price. Let’s say it’s a house on a busier street – something a couple with a baby on the way wouldn’t tolerate. Well, that house will still rent out later if it’s in the right neighborhood. Or maybe you purchase a studio (efficiency) unit in a downtown location. Someone will rent that out, too. 

Remember, if you’re planning a long-term hold, and it means getting you in the door, it might be worth it to be less picky — within reason of course. You probably don’t want to buy the place next to the new city dump. But it’s a slight change of your mind frame — people will always need housing, and someone will rent it if it’s in the right location. And renters tend to be less picky than owners when it comes to certain things (again, within reason).

Due Diligence
If it’s a condominium or house with an HOA, be cautious, because this will introduce an X factor. Condo boards can be fickle and may not have your interests in mind when making their rules, so you want to get a feel for what’s going on, how many investors might be in the building, and their current rental policy/restrictions. HOAs tend to be less strict on these matters but do check the bylaws of the association so as not to get caught off guard. Of course, things can change and you may not have much control over the new rules an association decides to implement, so that is a risk to consider. 

Of Course, You Can Get Out

Sometimes things happen, and you may decide that being a landlord is not for you. While real estate is less “liquid” than a stock, if you’re in a good market, you should be able to sell it within a reasonable amount of time. 

And, if you do need to sell once you’ve outgrown it, at least you’ve had a roof over your head for a few years. That’s an advantage that stocks don’t provide. 

Here’s a great article with tips from famous investors.