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Old 08-10-2014, 08:16 PM
10 posts, read 12,824 times
Reputation: 11


Our family will likely be looking to purchase our first home later this year or next spring. We are in our early 40s, have a toddler, and both of us work full-time.

Here are our requirements:

--A not-horrible commute to/from both of our jobs. My husband works in DTC, I work in Interlocken. We both have the option to work at home for part of the week, but still need to commute a few days.

--Near a good Montessori school or daycare/preschool.

--Near excellent public schools. DPS, Cherry Creek, or Littleton school districts very strongly preferred. Bonus points for a good, non-religious private school in the area.

--Low-maintenance, turnkey property. House should be updated to work for modern, energy-efficient needs. We are not the fixer-upper types.

--Strongly prefer a ranch house with a finished basement.

--Must have a two-car garage and a small yard.

--Easy drive to light rail station to downtown.

--Walkable distance to restaurants, grocery store, et cetera.

For all of this, I'd like to say "under $400k," but I don't know if that will be happening. So, close enough for us to get what we want without lamenting about crazy Denver home prices? $400s, I guess.

We are on the builder's interest lists for new builds in Stapleton/Northfield and at Boulevard One in Lowry. Those places seem to meet a lot of our requirements but have awful commute times from our jobs.

My husband loves the idea of Littleton, but most of the real estate listings we now see for Littleton look kinda icky (read: terrible-looking flips or places near the top of our price range that already need a lot of work). Same for Centennial.

We are liking the idea of new construction. But short of places out by Lone Tree (way too freaking far from Interlocken), we can't think of any other locations. Any ideas for an established neighborhood close-in to central Denver, full of non-churchy neighbors, good schools, high walkability score, et cetera? Or, are there any upcoming new construction areas planned that may meet our needs? Thanks so much in advance!
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:47 PM
Location: Denver
323 posts, read 428,344 times
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There isn't a lot of new construction new the center of town. Midtown might be a possibility, but there isn't many walkable amenities nearby. Plus, you should be aware of the standard features offered from each builder. Typical cost of upgrades can range from 15-30% of the base price.

Check out Virginia Village (between Monaco & Colorado Blvd, North of I-25). Lots of ranches, there are a few pockets with shops and restaurants, a Montessori School, and close to light rail. It's a solid neighborhood that is catching on as the popular Denver neighborhoods get more pricey.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:53 PM
10 posts, read 12,824 times
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Thanks! Some of the houses in Midtown look gorgeous, but the surrounding area (and the school district) do leave a lot to be desired.

Virginia Village may be a possibility. Both of us are fans of south Denver. We do like Littleton and Centennial too, so long as we find something non-icky-70's-split. I'm all for that hipster irony, but split-level houses just take it a few steps too far.

Just curious if there are any neighborhoods or areas in-between that we may have missed. Also realistically, how commutable is Stapleton/Northfield if you need to work in the far-off suburbs?
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:05 PM
Location: Denver
323 posts, read 428,344 times
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It shouldn't be terrible from Stapleton since it is close to several freeways, but right now, with construction on 225 and 36, it is terrible in both directions during rush hour. I do a lot of my driving during the off-hours, which isn't bad at all. Life will improve with light rail coming and the finish of freeway construction (is it ever really finished?).

Midtown's location is quite bizarre. It is a beautiful looking development that pops out of nowhere.

There are some developments coming along E. Mississippi Ave along the Denver/Aurora in the Cherry Creek School District, but the area isn't the most walkable.

I've seen some great updated split levels, but I think overall the split level is an acquired taste. There are great options around the south side of Denver. You could also consider Arvada near the Olde Town and have your husband take light rail down to DTC when it opens in 2016.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:20 PM
Location: Littleton, CO
3,111 posts, read 4,882,341 times
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Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

You've presented your wish list, and I have given you your answer.

Now, what is your priority?

The commute for one of you will be a nightmare. The closer you are to Littleton or Cherry Creek School Districts, the longer your commute to Broomfield will be.

The mid point of this disaster of a request is a swath that runs from Sloan's Lake to Globeville. Lower Highland, Sunnyside, and the River North district are the best areas here, but have few, if any, of the desired characteristics for schools, newer construction, prices in the 400s.

The commute to DTC is horrendous. My colleague does it and she hates it.

Arvada will be even worse. Commuting via light rail from Golden to DTC is nearly 90 min. The commute from Arvada to DTC is likely to be the same.

If schools are a priority, then live south and try to improve the Interlocken situation by working full time at home or finding a new job. You could convince them to move downtown or to the DTC.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:04 AM
10 posts, read 12,824 times
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I wouldn't call this "a disaster of a request" at all. This is just the reality of two well-established professionals living and working in a growing city.

We have no desire to live closer to Broomfield. Living closer to Broomfield would make the commute worse for my husband. There is nice housing stock up there, but frankly the rest of the area isn't very appealing to us. So that also throws out Arvada.

Central Denver or Littleton/Centennial make better sense for us. It is a painful (no, maybe ridiculous?) point about the Denver housing market that two professionals making well into the six figures would have difficulty finding a home that meets what you think would be basic criteria.

Are there any upcoming infill projects that are closer-in to downtown? Curious about that.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:10 AM
Location: The Berk in Denver, CO USA
13,947 posts, read 20,196,196 times
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1. Get a map.
2. Mark your work locations.
3. Mark the school boundaries that you are willing to consider. Forget DPS as it is too far north.
4. Tell you buyers' agent to find you houses. Look south of Hampden.
5. Forget silliness such as:
a. not handy
b. walking
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:45 AM
Location: Englewood, CO
361 posts, read 492,044 times
Reputation: 1236
What about the Belmar area of Lakewood? It's not walking distance to light rail, but the Colfax/Wadsworth station, with plenty of free parking is relatively close. It IS walking distance to many shops, groceries, libraries, parks, restaurants, etc. And, depending on the time of day, there's a free shuttle from the Belmar shopping area to the light rail. I live there, and commute to Interlocken myself (so, if you'd want a carpool buddy on the days you go in to the office...) . The morning drive in isn't too bad, afternoon drive home is somewhat worse, but, well, Littleton/Centennial would be a nightmare in comparison. Not sure what the commute to DTC is like, that's an area I never really go.

Schools I can't speak much to other than high schools, my kiddo was a high school sophomore when we moved here last year. Lakewood High is AMAZING. It's an IB school, has very strong academics, and fantastic music and theater departments. My kiddo is in all either honors or AP classes, and I feel she is well challenged. I can't speak to the IB program because we're not part of it formally, but for some honors classes, they blend with the IB program so it's kind of the best of both worlds. I CAN say the Lakewood High family is open and welcoming, and kiddo felt accepted and right at home from the beginning.

One thing to note, you likely won't find new construction. With that said, there are many well maintained older homes, mostly ranches with finished basements, all-brick (or mostly brick) exteriors, larger yards, nice trees, essentially all the stuff that I don't see as much in brand-new developments, where there are no trees, matchbox sized yards, and living on top of one another.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:49 AM
918 posts, read 983,677 times
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Originally Posted by mauliebaba123 View Post
Are there any upcoming infill projects that are closer-in to downtown? Curious about that.
There's the slow infill that is going on at the old Gates Rubber Plant site at Broadway and Mississippi. Entry prices for a single family home at that location are $600K plus. You might want to check out Englewood homes south of Harvard Gulch.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:22 AM
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Englewood sounds like a great compromise, but how are the schools? Are there good non-religious private schools nearby?
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