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Old 11-28-2011, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, Az
133 posts, read 131,480 times
Reputation: 93

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Hi Everyone,

My family is planning a relocation to the Denver area, and we're trying to put real numbers on the housing situation.

Our budget is somewhere in the high-200s to low-300s. We're hoping for 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, with a large basement (not necessarily finished, because we can do that later). We're generally looking in Centennial, Parker, Englewood, and Littleton; we're open to other ideas, but that's really our focus.

It looks like there is a metric boatload of new housing in the mid-to-high 200s, with lots of development (although some developments appear to be on hold, probably due to the economy). We understand the limitations of new housing: generally farther out; generally smaller lots; less "classic" looking. But they're new, and it's hard to be sure if a new build is going to be snug and sound.

However, it also looks like there is a substantial inventory of older houses, which with renovations, would wind up in about the same range. They would have a mix of advantages and disadvantages, and they might have a problem history.

So here come the questions.

Are there quality contractors in the Denver area who have a good reputation for doing large-scale renovations on a moderate budget? Has anyone done that sort of renovation? Did you feel that the results were worthwhile? Given the chance to do it again, would you have bought new?

Is there a meaningful way to estimate what it would cost to do an extensive renovation (say replacing the floors, kitchen, and bathrooms, and fixing things like the roof and exterior).

Does anyone recommend a new home builder in the southern suburbs?

And here's the special bonus question. In the Denver climate, how much does a homeowner have to spend annually to maintain a house? How frequently do you have to replace the roof, for example? Do you have to repair concrete and decks?

Thank all of you for any help you can provide.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Berkeley in Denver, CO USA
6,906 posts, read 5,865,705 times
Reputation: 6976
Default It depends

Quote:
And here's the special bonus question. In the Denver climate, how much does a homeowner have to spend annually to maintain a house? How frequently do you have to replace the roof, for example? Do you have to repair concrete and decks?
It depends.

1. Annual maintenance costs vary widely. Lawn mowing. Tree trimming. Shrub and garden maintenance. Gutter cleaning. Painting. It all depends. Do you do it? Or, do you hire people?

2. Asphalt shingle roof should last for the stated lifetime of 20+ years. But, a hailstorm will change that. So will selling the house. In today's market, a house with a 15+/25 roof will have to be replaced prior to sale. Even thought there are 10- years left in the roof.

3. Concrete should last forever. Do not use salt for snow removal. Shovel.

4. Decks need love. In my last house, the deck was: a) well-built, b) did not touch water/ground and c) finished every 5 years. It looked new 24 years later. It should last another 24 years. Quality lasts and carp does not.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Berkeley in Denver, CO USA
6,906 posts, read 5,865,705 times
Reputation: 6976
Default Rent first

Rent for a year.
Then buy.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, Az
133 posts, read 131,480 times
Reputation: 93
Good thinking.

1. I'd be doing most of the maintenance myself. We'd xeriscape (unless there was some kind of neighborhood covenant that required grass - anyone know if that's a common thing in the Denver area?), which should cut way down on water usage and maintenance costs.

2. I've heard about hail in Denver. Is that a rite of passage, like hurricanes on the Florida coast and summers in Phoenix? Do I need to buy the kevlar topcoat on cars?

3. Perish the thought. Salt is for popcorn and baked potatoes. I'd shovel (easy for me to say when I'm not even in the state yet, but you get the idea).

4. That's good to know - I was concerned that if we got a place with a deck, I'd be stripping, sanding, and sealing every fall, and after a few years, I'd have whittled my deck down to little more than a tongue depressor with a railing.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, Az
133 posts, read 131,480 times
Reputation: 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post
Rent for a year.
Then buy.
Well, I'd say it's perfectly sensible to rent for 3-6 months before buying. At the same time, it's difficult to *plan* on a hop-and-skip move, because it's tiresome to deal with establishing services then uprooting again.

If possible, we'd like to do a hop-and-stop. Make sense?
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:32 PM
 
17,330 posts, read 24,408,950 times
Reputation: 12688
Anyone whose home requires re-roofing of a standard asphalt shingle roof really should spend the extra $1-2k for the more hail resistant shingles that carry a 50-year warranty. It will survive many of the hailstorms that damage the 20-30 year shingles.

IIRC, Colorado Senate Bill 05-100 provides an override of HOA covenants to allow people to xeriscape to their heart's content. Still, HOAs can still require a landscaping plan to explain the homeowner's intent.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, Az
133 posts, read 131,480 times
Reputation: 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Anyone whose home requires re-roofing...really should spend the extra $1-2k for the more hail resistant shingles that carry a 50-year warranty. It will survive many of the hailstorms that damage the 20-30 year shingles.
Very good to know. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
IIRC, Colorado Senate Bill 05-100 provides an override of HOA covenants to allow people to xeriscape to their heart's content.
Great link! I was also pleased to see that apparently, I can also park my fire truck on the property. Assuming I get a job as a fireman, er, open flame abatement professional, and they let me drive the truck. Woo hoo!
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