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Old 07-03-2012, 03:33 PM
 
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My wife and I moved here approximately 1 month ago from NJ (south NJ that is.) We currently live in an apartment just outside of the Lowry section of Denver on the border of Aurora. Since arriving we have been struggling to find a place that we are willing to settle down in. To give you a bit of information, that may help, I will be working for the city of Lakewood, and my wife will be working in Thornton (may not be long term for her.) We both miss the historic feel of the east coast and would love to get a bit of home in that sense, if that’s possible, but our main concern(s) is we have found, so far, that most homes in CO don’t have backyards, if they do they are very small ranchers usually in what appears to be a "low income" area. Obviously we are concerned about crime rates and safety, and we really miss the community type of feel we used to have on the east coast.

Comparably speaking, I understand we are in a different world and I know this is why it’s been so tough. I will be the first to admit that I need to stop comparing apples to oranges, however, seeing homes in the 300,000+ range for a small amount of square footage and a small piece of property in low income areas seems a bit odd to me. All in all we are looking for a decently priced home ($200,000 - $400,000), in a good area, with a backyard, that is not surrounded by the low income areas and/or shopping centers

We are new to the area and we desperately seek guidance from you lifers. We are thrilled to be here and we know there is somewhere for us, we just need help.
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:48 PM
 
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Wink Insofar as I know anything

I do not exactly fit your criteria, and not all that well versed in Denver neighborhoods either, yet have a thought or two.

In thinking of some East Coast suburbs where one large lush lawn melds into the next, I can't think of much in Colorado that matches that—if in part that maintaining a lawn here is a tougher proposition.

Not just in Colorado, but in many locals throughout the West the new style seems as huge a house as one can afford on some semblance of a yard it is near overrunning. Compared to some places Colorado is expensive, and in some neighborhoods it may take more than your budget to receive some approximation of the yard you desire. But there are of course exceptions.

With some semblance of a yard as a priority, one might begin by crossing off the neighborhoods where tract builders have uniformly made every yard more a postage stamp. Perhaps you just haven't discovered the right newer development yet. If the odds on that somewhat long, at least at this price point.

With this in mind, you might wish to avoid the questionable areas, but still focus on decent older neighborhoods built when everyone did want something of a yard. As said, I'm not that well versed on Denver and its environs, but at least in places this exists. Although depending on just how large a yard you wish. If it begins to press into half an acre and more, then one may wish to investigate the far edges of suburbia, even that nominally rural.

Real estate is one of the sobering realities of this state.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
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I agree with IDunn here. It's going to be pretty difficult to find what you are looking for in the newer suburbs of Denver. Denver was modeled after the LA suburban sprawl, which is exactly what you are not liking. However, I think you will be able to find something closer to what you are looking for by looking at some of the older suburbs, including Lakewood, Arvada, and Westminster. All suburbs have their "lower income" areas, but it doesn't mean they are bad neighborhoods. My parents live in a mixed use neighborhood near old town Littleton and they love it. In their 7 years there, they've had no crime compared with at least 3 property thefts from their previous upscale residence in S. Aurora.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:03 PM
 
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The thing you have to remember is a lot of the development you see in Colorado is new by comparison with the east coast. It wasn't that long ago Denver was a cow town and then suddenly discovered by the baby boomers the place exploded over the last 30 years in population.

What you might want to look at is some of the older neighborhoods. I always liked it around Denver University and Porter Memorial hospital with some of the neighborhoods that date back to the 1930's and 1950's. The homes have aged nicely around there and although they are smaller than your typical modern American home, all of my relatives had very large backyards and big trees.

There are also some decent older neighborhoods over in Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Applewood.

I'd get out and explore, Denver is not that hard to drive around. Find some neighborhoods you like and then research further.

The Aurora part of town, even the nicer areas or ordinary parts of town, never been the biggest fan of. I would think a lot of Aurora and parts nearby would not be your thing.

When it comes down to it, you're not in NJ anymore. People are a bit different, there isn't any chummy neighborhood closeness in general and Coloradans tend to be more independent in their attitude.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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I'm not a native, but have been here 32 years. (I'm one of those Boomers wanneroo mentioned!) I did come here from Illinois, and my home state is Pennsylvania. I had some of the same feelings as you at first. This place will grow on you, and you may not like it better than Jersey, but you will think of it as different, neither better nor worse, just different. In time, you may come to like it better, who knows? Anyway, you have to accept Colorado for Colorado.

I agree, get out an explore. If you're working in Lakewood, and your wife's job is in Thornton and may be temporary, look on the west side.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:14 AM
 
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Having lived and worked in the Lakewood area back in the 1960's - 1970's ...

I know that there are pockets of good neighborhoods in the area that do have larger yards than the .2 acre lots that were platted in more recent times. Unfortunately, it's been many years since I last looked at properties in those areas and I don't know what the current marketplace price points are for them.

Typically, these pockets were home sites that were parcelled off from the farms in the area long before the mass market subdivision developers came into the area and bought the farms. Between the commercial development along the 6th Ave and Colfax corridors and the Fed center development, Lakewood was under a lot of pressure for numbers of home units to satisfy demand early on in the build-out of the Denver metro area; IIRC, some of the pockets I've seen were between the 6th Ave and Hampden corridors, perhaps even closer to Englewood. A friend used to have a sizable property just South of Hampden not far from Federal Blvd; even though it was just a few blocks off of Hampden, you were not aware of the busy corridor close by and the location was outstanding for access to major corridors in the metro area. Years ago, the old farmhouse complex was still standing and I remember that they used to rent out a barn for an artist's studio; but that's been torn down so they could build more houses there.

In any event, there's many potential areas for your consideration in a wide zone with good close access to your employer. I'd start looking in the 6th/Kipling area and head West from there.

Your best option at this point is to contact the real estate agents who know the area and give them your requirements so they can advise you.

Last edited by sunsprit; 07-05-2012 at 01:24 AM..
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:12 AM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
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BTW, its Coloradans, Not Coloradoians, you don't call people from Mexico, Mexicoians do you ? lol...
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:54 AM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,023,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Having lived and worked in the Lakewood area back in the 1960's - 1970's ...

I know that there are pockets of good neighborhoods in the area that do have larger yards than the .2 acre lots that were platted in more recent times. Unfortunately, it's been many years since I last looked at properties in those areas and I don't know what the current marketplace price points are for them.

Typically, these pockets were home sites that were parcelled off from the farms in the area long before the mass market subdivision developers came into the area and bought the farms. Between the commercial development along the 6th Ave and Colfax corridors and the Fed center development, Lakewood was under a lot of pressure for numbers of home units to satisfy demand early on in the build-out of the Denver metro area; IIRC, some of the pockets I've seen were between the 6th Ave and Hampden corridors, perhaps even closer to Englewood. A friend used to have a sizable property just South of Hampden not far from Federal Blvd; even though it was just a few blocks off of Hampden, you were not aware of the busy corridor close by and the location was outstanding for access to major corridors in the metro area. Years ago, the old farmhouse complex was still standing and I remember that they used to rent out a barn for an artist's studio; but that's been torn down so they could build more houses there.

In any event, there's many potential areas for your consideration in a wide zone with good close access to your employer. I'd start looking in the 6th/Kipling area and head West from there.

Your best option at this point is to contact the real estate agents who know the area and give them your requirements so they can advise you.
A few years ago my dad took me back to his old neighborhood and elementary school in Lakewood from the late 1950's. At that time it was prairie, there were no trees, the school was brand new and his neighborhood was the edge of development with many fields around and he should see straight up to the foothills with almost nothing in between. Now there has been 45-50 years of tree growth and of course everything nearby has been long built out. You can't even see the foothills anymore because of the trees. But the neighborhood and the area, I thought was still a nice middle class area.

So I think there is some options out there for consideration that are more traditional neighborhoods and probably more established residents than the brand new pig snout garage Mcmansion neighborhoods.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:09 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,103,855 times
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Originally Posted by ryanek9freak View Post
BTW, its Coloradans, Not Coloradoians, you don't call people from Mexico, Mexicoians do you ? lol...
I would hope the OP was either kidding, or just misspelled. Calling a native or long-time Coloradan a "Coloradian" would brand the OP in their eyes as an out-of-state dork right off the bat.

As for what he is looking for, about the only areas near Lakewood that I would suggest might be in some of old core towns of Arvada or Golden--areas of "non-suburbia" that were there before the metro area swallowed everything up with its tasteless, faceless, suburban sprawl model that makes metro Denver like any other "modern" American city built in the last 50 years+. Of course, that necessarily means homes 50+ years old built on relatively small lots.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:54 PM
 
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Thank you all for your response and advice. I will take every bit of knowledge and apply it all to our search. I am sincerely sorry for the misspelling of Coloradan. -- Anyway, thanks again to all of you, you all have been a great help!
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