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Old 02-21-2016, 05:24 PM
 
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Looking to get out of the Seattle area for someplace with more sun and lower cost of living. Ideally, I would be going to Bend, Oregon (love the climate, the scenery, and the flora) but I would like to be a little closer to a major city (for amenities and for airport access - I can work from home but need to travel regularly).

I like the idea of being able to access Denver but don't need to live close in. In order to convince my SO to move, we would be looking for a 3000+SF home with high end finishes and at least an acre in the $600k range. Need top quality public schools, good parks and athletics, reasonable access to shopping/restaurants. I have a thing for pine trees and mountain views as well.

I know little about CO - limited to a few biz trips to Denver. Thinking about Monument, Castle Rock, Boulder...any thoughts? Other places I should consider?
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:36 PM
 
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BBoulder or nearby would be the least likely to find a newish, upscale house on an acre at that price point but you can check real estate sites for a possible, rare find. I'd look more around Louisville and Lafayette instead. Maybe Longmont too.

Outside Castle Rock seems like a fairly likely fit.
Give Castle Pines and Franktown at least a glance. Maybe Roxborough Park (SW of Littleton) and Perry Park (SW of Castle Rock) too.

Monument might work, especially if Colorado Springs airport met your needs. Be aware though that because of influence of local topography Monument tends to get a good deal more snow than Castle Rock and nearly anywhere else on front range.

Last edited by NW Crow; 02-21-2016 at 06:00 PM..
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:08 PM
 
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Check COS vs. DEN for some of your regular trips. I think you will probably find you will want to be able to access DEN fairly easily, but if COS will work it opens up some other possibilities.

Monument to the south, Conifer and Evergreen to the west, and Ft. Collins to the north are about an hour from the Denver airport. Weather conditions - particularly near Monument - can alter that dramatically. But within that arc is well over half the population of the state.

I am going to suggest you begin by defining the distance from the airport you are willing to live with. From there you can identify locations with the kind of shopping/restaurants and schools you are going to want. Having identified those areas (and it may still be a long list), determine how far from those attractions you are willing to be - and by that I mean far in terms of time. There may be a better approach, but you have to start somewhere.
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:31 PM
 
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With a $600k budget, one can live like a king in Colo Spgs and have good schools to boot.
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:34 PM
 
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You wrote: " In order to convince my SO to move, we would be looking for a 3000+SF home with high end finishes and at least an acre in the $600k range. Need top quality public schools, good parks and athletics, reasonable access to shopping/restaurants. I have a thing for pine trees and mountain views as well"

I see a very conflicted set of requirements here.

To begin with, you're wanting "high end finishes" for 3,000 sq ft house (minimum sq ft) ... that's in the $200 psf range not including the other amenities you seek (primarily, the acre of land and a view site with access to good schools).

That's pretty close to tract housing price ranges these days, not "high end" housing.

The last I saw of such a combination that you seek here at this price range was close to 20 years ago.

Of course, "high end" finishes is a very subjective requirement. "Gingerbread" per se, doesn't equate to "high end", however.

But as one who has spent a fair deal of time in the lighting industry over the past few decades, the "high end finishes" houses along the Front Range and up into the mountain resort areas (within your desired distance from Denver) I've bid projects on in the last few years had lighting budgets alone that would have taken up much of your total budget. Add in the "high end" flooring, floor coverings, kitchen equipment, countertops, fancy woodwork and built-ins, high end bathroom fixtures, window coverings, exterior trims, performance roofs ...

and your budget simply doesn't reach "high end" housing cost in the area. Particularly when you're specifying top grade amenities such as schools, access, and an acre of land.

FWIW, I had a relative leave Bellevue to return to Denver 4 years ago. They were fortunate to find a new 3,200 sq ft house in the Denver metro area that was a builder distress sale (he was defaulting on a number of construction loans and needed to cash out ASAP) at your price range ... marked down from $1mil for a quick cash-out. While nice, the house didn't have "high end" finishes and was on a single city lot, but is in a good school district with ready access to the shopping, recreation, and entertainment of the area. Plus, had reasonable access to DIA which was essential to their frequent business travels. More recently, in the recent housing market upswing, the twin to the house built on the adjacent lot has sold for $1mil. They searched for two years to find their Denver area deal in their desperation to leave the Seattle area (and their major name IT employer), and their requirements were essentially comparable to yours. Obviously, they had to drastically compromise in a much lesser marketplace than today. They don't have mountain views. They do have a minimal patch of front lawn for greenery along with a couple of mature Elm trees. The "backyard" is big enough for a swing set and sandbox, but not much else next to the two-car garage. One side of the house is set back from the property line the minimum zoned distance, so when you're in the kitchen, your view is directly into the neighbor's kitchen windows ... in the summer time with opened windows, you can carry on a conversation (whether intended or not) with your neighbor at normal speaking levels.

They'd done their best to try to acclimate to the PNW, having also lived in Snoqualmie (loved the lakeside house location they had there, but it was a terrible floorplan and a very drab house for finish/equipment) , Issaquah, Redmond (leased and owned housing), and then tried to move to Clyde Hill (which was way over their heads, financially) because their fellow workers lived there. I've been in their houses and I would say that their standard for "high end" finishes weren't out of line for what I'd be demanding in the Denver region marketplace.


As well, one of my former residences in Park Hill (near Colfax Ave and Colorado Blvd), now converted to a 5 bdr house with 2 1/2 baths by finishing out the basement of a 3-story Denver Square (originally built in 1898) sold in 2014 for just shy of your price range. On a 40' wide x 160' deep lot, it certainly didn't have the acreage you desire, the high end finishes, nor the good school district you desire. And as one who flipped the house years ago, having remodeled the kitchen/pantry and taken it from 3 bdrs/1ba to 4 bdrs/1 1/2 bath ... bought at $28,900 and sold 2 years later for $89,900 ... I know full well that it's a far cry from "high end" finishes throughout.

"living like a king" in the Front Range on a $600,000 budget with your requirements for house size/finish quality on an acre and access to the rest of your requirements isn't what I'm seeing in the area today. Are there "nice" 3,000 sq ft houses on a acre with access to good schools available for $600,000? yes ... but they're a far cry from "high end finishes" built housing with all the amenities that you list. Understand that the population boom of the area has brought with it traffic issues and one must factor in commute times and access to the things that one values. IOW, years ago, when Denver had sprawl but a much lower population count, it was feasible to live some geographical distance away from work/amenities ... but in today's environment, it's not such a good plan. (and yes, I did those commutes for years ... Boulder-Denver, Golden-Boulder, Denver-Boulder, Thornton-Denver, KenCaryl Ranch-Littleton, and lastly Erie-Littleton ... when I moved to Erie, my commute time to Littleton was the same as KC Ranch to Littleton. Several years later, that became a miserable commute I wouldn't wish on anybody. I was fortunate to be able to shut down my Littleton business and move out of the area to my Wyoming ranch).

Good luck in your search.

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-21-2016 at 10:52 PM..
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:10 AM
 
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I didn't say Front Range, I said COLO SPGS, where one CAN live like a king at $600k. Find local realty at www.ppar.com
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:10 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,158,688 times
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Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
I didn't say Front Range, I said COLO SPGS, where one CAN live like a king at $600k. Find local realty at PPAR.com - Trusted And Accurate Real Estate Listing Information
Mike, you can specify COLO SPGS, but it doesn't change the reality of prices PSF in the region in today's marketplace. As I pointed out, I've been a manufacturer's rep in the lighting industry (with over 25 lines in my briefcase, including 7 that were custom/high end fixtures manufacturers in the USA, Italy, and Mexico) where the lighting budget for a 3,000 sq ft house would easily exceed $10-15/psf.

The OP is seeking "high end finishes" ... and judging from your comments, I don't believe that you know what that entails.

In addition to the lighting fixtures and controls, one would typically find gourmet kitchens with multiple restaurant/commercial stoves, dishwashers, disposals/sinks, high end countertops, high end cabinetry (solid hardwoods, not faced particle board construction), wine coolers, warming ovens, cooking islands, fancy overhead pot racks (yes, even one of my custom lighting fixture manufacturers made these ... starting prices were around $5,000 for the basic ornate decorations they custom designed. Each was unique, hand hammered out of copper sheet or cast in brass/bronze).

And so forth, his/her bathroom fixtures that aren't what you'll find in box store showrooms or catalogues. Closet treatments with built ins of high quality. Sauna's or Steam Showers, soaking hot tubs, etc. High end floor treatments ... either exotic woods, or tiles, or stone.

Similarly, throughout the house, the built-ins, convenience items, pre-wired (if not fully integrated and installed) audio and communication systems are all part of "high end finishes".

You'll find the patio spaces have built-in fancy b-b-que equipment, outdoor bar equipment, built-in refrigerators and icemakers. Landscaping will be an integral part of such facilities, and it won't be a simple lawn and a couple of shrubs, it will be a far more developed outdoor living space. Not uncommonly, an area of the patio may be enclosed with high end windows/coverings/integrated blinds, and supplemental heating systems and/or a fireplace.

Roofs won't be architectural shingles, they'll be hand fabricated tile or metal or architectural concrete ... highly durable, good performing, and very unique as an architectural feature of the house. Exterior walls will receive similar treatment, making them an architectural feature ... could be wood, stone, brick, pancretes, tiles.

Even the garages get "special treatment". You'll find custom installed epoxy/urethane floors or custom installed acid stained designs (not simple broadcast colors, but actual artist renditions of many variants ... mountain scenes, sports scenes, car races/pits, compass roses) protected with industrial quality urethanes or polyaspartic coatings. One such artist I worked with (as a manufacturer's rep for the epoxies and coatings) did a 4-car garage last year in acid stain ... a huge old-world style map compass rose, incredibly intricately detailed ... for $50,000 for his artwork, the materials were additional. He's booked up solid for such projects for the next two years doing garages, rec room floors, kitchens, entryways ... he can "faux finish" marble or other stonework on a concrete deck, interior or exterior. Typically, the garages will also have built-in code compliant drain systems and heated floors along with space heating so that your cars are warm and comfortable during the winter months when you get into them, and the run-off from being out on snowy roads is conveniently drained away into a sand trap drain. Some even have curbs so that you step out of your car onto a raised surface rather than onto the same deck where the slop from the car is draining off. I've also seen commercial quality epoxy or cement ground terrazzo floors in entry areas, kitchens, and utility spaces ... stuff that costs $40-75 psf, installed. That's just flooring! Some folk will have "stamped concrete" architectural featured driveways simulating brick or cobblestones, epoxy and urethane coated for durability ... but the real "high end finishes" houses will have the real deal installed, genuine paver bricks or cobblestones.

And so it goes with many other architectural features, conveniences, and sometimes conspicuous consumption details. But the bottom line is that "high end finishes" housing is a sky's the limit world apart from normal housing.

This simply isn't the stuff of tract or semi-custom housing, or the lower end of commercially built custom home builders. This is a niche marketplace served by builders with an outlook of such features who typically work with residential architects to create such homes. I've seen the architects' fees reach into the 6-figure range just for their design and construction oversight in houses recently built in Evergreen, Denver, Colorado Springs ... houses for which I was asked to BID on the lighting package.

There are several lighting retailers in the Colorado area who undertake such projects. For example, The Lighting Studio with outlets in Aspen and Edwards (and now have a Denver store) ... is but one of several in the Aspen area. Why did these outlets open up to serve the Aspen and Vail/Beaver Creek areas? because that's where the money/homes were being built with the high end designer interiors for years in the Colorado market. These are the type of designer lighting studios where folks go with a $1mil lighting budget for their houses ... as one that we recently bid on that was for a denver area sports team coach.


AS WELL, please note the following (per WIKI, but there's a host of other sources with the same):

"The Colorado Front Range is a colloquial geographic term for the most populous region of the state of Colorado in the United States. The area is located just east of the foothills of the Front Range, aligned in a north-south configuration on the western edge of the Great Plains, where they meet the Rockies. Geologically, the region lies mostly within the Colorado Piedmont, in the valley of the South Platte and Arkansas rivers on the east side of the Rockies. The region contains the largest cities and the majority of the population of Colorado.

The Colorado Front Range communities include (in a roughly north-to-south order):

Fort Collins
Greeley
Loveland
Longmont
Boulder
Golden
Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area
Castle Rock
Colorado Springs
Pueblo"

Got it, Mike? COLO SPGS is a part of THE FRONT RANGE of Colorado. It's been known that way for a long time .... frankly, I'm surprised that you apparently don't know that.

PS: I've BID on a few houses in the Garden of the Gods area over the last few years ... and $600,000 was just a portion of the site costs before a house was built on it. "high end finishes" housing in COLO SPGS isn't cheap ... a "factoid" I learned 50 years ago in Colorado is that there's a lot of "old money" in that area of Colorado with such housing.

PPS: the OP specified coming from the Seattle area and seeking "high end finishes". I am familiar with what that means in that marketplace, having been in numerous houses in Clyde Hill, Medina, Bellevue, and similar top dollar residential areas in that area. There's a lot of the types of interior and exterior treatments I've described prevailing in that marketplace ... so many folk there have the affluence to buy this stuff for their lifestyles. I think my basis of comparison for "high end finishes" in the Denver/Front Range housing marketplace is reasonably well-founded. If my expectations are off the mark, the OP can so advise what they're really seeking, right?

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-22-2016 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,042 posts, read 2,072,136 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
If my expectations are off the mark, the OP can so advise what they're really seeking, right?
That may be the crux of it. What exactly does the OP want. I've seen posts on CD saying high end is stainless appliances with marble counter tops and wood and tile floors. Based on your posting, the industry definition seems to go quite a bit beyond that.
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Old 02-22-2016, 12:24 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,697 posts, read 4,325,409 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
You wrote: " In order to convince my SO to move, we would be looking for a 3000+SF home with high end finishes and at least an acre in the $600k range. Need top quality public schools, good parks and athletics, reasonable access to shopping/restaurants. I have a thing for pine trees and mountain views as well"

I see a very conflicted set of requirements here.

To begin with, you're wanting "high end finishes" for 3,000 sq ft house (minimum sq ft) ... that's in the $200 psf range not including the other amenities you seek (primarily, the acre of land and a view site with access to good schools).

That's pretty close to tract housing price ranges these days, not "high end" housing.

The last I saw of such a combination that you seek here at this price range was close to 20 years ago.

Of course, "high end" finishes is a very subjective requirement. "Gingerbread" per se, doesn't equate to "high end", however.

But as one who has spent a fair deal of time in the lighting industry over the past few decades, the "high end finishes" houses along the Front Range and up into the mountain resort areas (within your desired distance from Denver) I've bid projects on in the last few years had lighting budgets alone that would have taken up much of your total budget. Add in the "high end" flooring, floor coverings, kitchen equipment, countertops, fancy woodwork and built-ins, high end bathroom fixtures, window coverings, exterior trims, performance roofs ...

and your budget simply doesn't reach "high end" housing cost in the area. Particularly when you're specifying top grade amenities such as schools, access, and an acre of land.

FWIW, I had a relative leave Bellevue to return to Denver 4 years ago. They were fortunate to find a new 3,200 sq ft house in the Denver metro area that was a builder distress sale (he was defaulting on a number of construction loans and needed to cash out ASAP) at your price range ... marked down from $1mil for a quick cash-out. While nice, the house didn't have "high end" finishes and was on a single city lot, but is in a good school district with ready access to the shopping, recreation, and entertainment of the area. Plus, had reasonable access to DIA which was essential to their frequent business travels. More recently, in the recent housing market upswing, the twin to the house built on the adjacent lot has sold for $1mil. They searched for two years to find their Denver area deal in their desperation to leave the Seattle area (and their major name IT employer), and their requirements were essentially comparable to yours. Obviously, they had to drastically compromise in a much lesser marketplace than today. They don't have mountain views. They do have a minimal patch of front lawn for greenery along with a couple of mature Elm trees. The "backyard" is big enough for a swing set and sandbox, but not much else next to the two-car garage. One side of the house is set back from the property line the minimum zoned distance, so when you're in the kitchen, your view is directly into the neighbor's kitchen windows ... in the summer time with opened windows, you can carry on a conversation (whether intended or not) with your neighbor at normal speaking levels.

They'd done their best to try to acclimate to the PNW, having also lived in Snoqualmie (loved the lakeside house location they had there, but it was a terrible floorplan and a very drab house for finish/equipment) , Issaquah, Redmond (leased and owned housing), and then tried to move to Clyde Hill (which was way over their heads, financially) because their fellow workers lived there. I've been in their houses and I would say that their standard for "high end" finishes weren't out of line for what I'd be demanding in the Denver region marketplace.


As well, one of my former residences in Park Hill (near Colfax Ave and Colorado Blvd), now converted to a 5 bdr house with 2 1/2 baths by finishing out the basement of a 3-story Denver Square (originally built in 1898) sold in 2014 for just shy of your price range. On a 40' wide x 160' deep lot, it certainly didn't have the acreage you desire, the high end finishes, nor the good school district you desire. And as one who flipped the house years ago, having remodeled the kitchen/pantry and taken it from 3 bdrs/1ba to 4 bdrs/1 1/2 bath ... bought at $28,900 and sold 2 years later for $89,900 ... I know full well that it's a far cry from "high end" finishes throughout.

"living like a king" in the Front Range on a $600,000 budget with your requirements for house size/finish quality on an acre and access to the rest of your requirements isn't what I'm seeing in the area today. Are there "nice" 3,000 sq ft houses on a acre with access to good schools available for $600,000? yes ... but they're a far cry from "high end finishes" built housing with all the amenities that you list. Understand that the population boom of the area has brought with it traffic issues and one must factor in commute times and access to the things that one values. IOW, years ago, when Denver had sprawl but a much lower population count, it was feasible to live some geographical distance away from work/amenities ... but in today's environment, it's not such a good plan. (and yes, I did those commutes for years ... Boulder-Denver, Golden-Boulder, Denver-Boulder, Thornton-Denver, KenCaryl Ranch-Littleton, and lastly Erie-Littleton ... when I moved to Erie, my commute time to Littleton was the same as KC Ranch to Littleton. Several years later, that became a miserable commute I wouldn't wish on anybody. I was fortunate to be able to shut down my Littleton business and move out of the area to my Wyoming ranch).

Good luck in your search.
Wow! Thank you for your explanation, Sunsprit. I felt like I was reading about life in a foreign country when I read your post. I can't imagine living in a home with high end finishes such as you describe in your post. They sound like the next best thing to palaces to me except for the parts about the tiny lots such houses can be built on and looking into your neighbor's kitchen. Back in the day, I once had a job for an outfit in Colorado Springs that did indoor (green) plant maintenance for both individuals and companies all over the Springs. Mondays were my days to take care of clients in the Broadmoor and upper Skyway neighborhoods. Talk about "high end finishes"! Some of those places would have huge atriums with skylights and waterfalls and all sorts of exotic tropical plants. One home came complete with a full sized swimming pool on the lower level. The owners insisted that the pool area be decorated with live palms which died off with tiresome regularity due to the high concentration of chlorine in the air. I swear, no living thing could exist long in that place - including me! I used to lug out all the dead palms and replace them with new sacrificial plants every week, and I did it as fast as possible because I couldn't wait to escape. I got really strong that summer, I'll tell you! All those homes were on very large lots for the most part and must have had values in the millions even back then. The oddest thing was that many of those houses seemed unlived in - very well kept up, but no sign of human life - not even a sweater tossed on a bed or a book left on a chair. I suppose they were second or third homes for the elite. By comparison, I must live in the equivalent of a refurbished chicken shack way out here on the Western Slope in the middle of all my hay fields. At least I don't have to look into my neighbor's kitchen. The nearest house to mine is a mile down the road. My roommate did put up a little light stick from Walmart under one of the cabinets in my kitchen, so I can see better what I'm doing when I cook dinner. Does that count?
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:30 PM
 
20,828 posts, read 39,031,368 times
Reputation: 19037
As I said, a person could live like a king on $600k in the Colo Spgs area, or in this case, just $560k: Full Listing Detail
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