Whether you are new to Denver or you have lived here for many years, finding the right Denver neighborhood for you is important. Our neighborhoods have changed a lot in the past 5 years. Loving your neighborhood is as important as loving your home. Empty nesters don’t want the same things as a family of 5 but staying close to kids and grandkids might be important or the other way around.
Here are my top 5 things to think about when trying to decide what neighborhood is right for you.
What do you want to be close to?
Work, family, friends, restaurants, light rail, the highway so you can get to the mountains quickly?
What is most important to you?
2. Talk to the “locals”
Most of our neighborhoods have restaurants and shops within a short distance. Eat a restaurant and strike up a conversation. Go to the grocery store, walk around the neighborhood park and drive or walk the neighborhoods on Saturday mornings when kids might be out playing or Friday evenings when people are walking to dinner or jogging.
3. Taxes, Insurance, and HOAs
Seems weird that these might all be lumped into one group but taxes in Denver include trash, recycling, most neighborhoods have composting. Our suburban neighborhoods do not.
HOAs may or may not include homeowners insurance, trash, recycle, snow removal, exterior and roof maintenance, landscaping, pool, gated community, security, and so many other options. Remember HOAs are not all created equal and our MLS isn’t perfect, so it good to double check and ask questions.
4. Property Values
Our property values in the past few years have gone up and in some neighborhoods drastically.
Values can be hard to understand in our urban core neighborhoods, where there might be big houses next to small houses, next to duplexes and maybe even an apartment or condo buildings and a brand new rowhomes.
What we saw in 2008 were the highest priced houses in the neighborhoods and the neighborhoods further away from the city core took a harder hit than the rest just like most cities. My crystal ball says, stay in budget, we are moving into a more equal (buyer/seller) market so our prices might level off.
Buy a house because you like it and want to live in it, not for a quick turn investment.
Schools matter if you have kids in them. Do you want your kids to be able to walk to school?
Visiting the neighborhood school would be a good idea. Most of the public schools have open enrollment, so you could possibly send the kids to a neighboring school if they have room and the closest school just isn’t right for your kids. Be sure to ask questions. One question will lead to another, for instance, Denver Public Schools has many non-traditional schools, like elementary through 8th grade, and magnet schools like Denver Public School of the Arts.
Every kid’s needs are different and you will know better than anyone what is best for you and them.