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Old 02-19-2008, 04:19 PM
 
49 posts, read 203,461 times
Reputation: 24

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so i think that eventually buying a house in highlands would be awesome. it seems like my kind of place. close proximity to the city, nice up-and-coming area, funky and just gritty enough to keep the really stuffy people away.

that said, many houses i'd like are on the upper end of my budget - which brings me to lakewood. i'd like to be within 10-15 minutes of the city (closer if possible) and still have a modest yard for a dog, proximity to parks, walkable to some local bars , etc.

so what's the deal with lakewood? another thread made it seem kind of generic. any sketchy parts to stay away from? would it be good for a 30 year old newly married couple w/o kids (or any plans for kids). are there other people my age in lakewood or should i bite the bullet and buy in highlands?

thanks in advance !
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:23 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,552,001 times
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Lakewood is a good place to live. It has numerous neighborhoods that run the gamut from very old areas to very new neighborhoods to very expensive subdivisions. It is very large. The older areas are along the east side bordering Colfax and Alameda which then extends into the City of Denver.

Some areas along Colfax and West Alameda are a little ragged and maybe not the safest of all the areas. I was just in the area today and took a bus from Lakewood on Colfax into Downtown. I live north on off of Sheridan in Arvada and when I walked to Sheridan the bus going south was coming first and I decided to go to Colfax and take the very frequent buses that run into downtown. I saw no problems; the stops were crowded with people on this bright sunny day and the bus was well filled. Yes, there are many types of people but to say Highland is better and safer---I do not think so;I have been in the area almost 30 years and I know both areas. Highland has a reputation of a changing gentrification neighborhood and it is coming along nice but it is not comparable to the many diverse areas of Lakewood.

There are also large expanses of Lakewood that are older with very nice neighborhoods along many parks and greenbelts--Along, Wadsworth, Kipling--the farthest west you go the newer the neighborhoods. It also has a redeveloped area near Alameda and Belmar--very nice and the neighborhoods around are outstanding--my sister lives in that area.

There is also the very developed area along Alameda and Union near the Federal Center.
This will be the area where St. Anthony Hospital will relocate and the Green Mountain neighborhood is known as a good area.

In the Southwest, were Lakewood border unicorporated Jefferson County there is large shopping and a large mall area--the Southwest Mall. Just east of there is the infamous Columbine area--very upscale.

Keep in mind that the first commuter line under Fastracks will be built through Lakewood from Union Station to the Jefferson County Municipal Center near Golden. This is the West Line. I would investigate where this line is being built as homes near the stations will see a substantial increase in value when the line in finished. In addition, this will give you the quick and easy route to Downtown. At the present time, there are many buses that run frequently into Denver--so most of Lakewood is convenient to good transportation with the exception of the far west side past Kipling.

I like Lakewood because of the diverse nature of the place--good hispanic areas, older established "western areas", close to the mountains, close to the city, good parks and open space under Jefferson County, Great School System, exceptional Library. It has a good diverse choice of neighborhoods and areas--certainly it cannot be all considered cookie-cutter.

You have to take a drive through the area to really understand and see--there are many hidden areas, so when you drive down Sheridan, Wadsworth, and Kipling be sure to drive east and west off of some of the major streets like Jewell, Quincy, Mississippi, Florida, (All the streets names after states). Also Go North and South on Garrison--beautiful older homes with large yards. You will see much that will please you.

Livecontent
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:24 PM
 
249 posts, read 938,706 times
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I am super biased because I live in the Highlands, but I think the smartest thing to do would be to buy in the Highlands. This is one of few neighborhoods in Denver that continues to appreciate even now. You also should keep in mind that in a few years you may no longer be able to afford this area as it will likely continue to appreciate! The house we bought we would not be able to buy today as the neighborhood continues to appreciate! Housing can be a great investment and think of the costs of moving in a few years (closing costs, moving costs)! Assuming your financial situation might improve slightly over the next couple of years, i think this is definitley the right decision. I recently looked at an adorable house on clay somewhere between 38th and 41st, by the way! I feel like it was going for 299!!!! I just looked it up - it's 4240 clay st and it's very very cute and updated inside - quite the steal. I"m constantly checking out houses in the neighborhood! It's through nostalgic homes.

That said, Lakewood is nice too! Just sounded like you really like Highland
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:37 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
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I think Lakewood would work for you. There are definitely areas where you would be 10-15 min (maybe more like 15-20 actually) from downtown. The area around Bel Mar would have walkable bars. It is a fairly car-oriented place, other than that, but walkable at the same time, if that makes any sense. You should take a look for yourself.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 02-19-2008 at 07:37 PM.. Reason: addition
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:47 AM
 
49 posts, read 203,461 times
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thanks everyone. it sounds like these will be the two areas that i'll continue to investegate (from a far for now). we'll rent for a little bit when we move in june but will want to buy a place farily soon. i presume that the buyers market is true in denver as well (except perhaps highlands).
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Denver
53 posts, read 209,123 times
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I am not very familiar with Lakewood, but as mentioned in posts above, buying closer to the city (Highlands, Sloan's Lake, Wash Park etc.) will likely give you a better return on your investment. The Denver Post (no affiliation) has a great interactive map by neighborhood on their website that will give you an idea of how home prices did last year. For example in 2007, Lakewood saw an overall decrease of -15.5% in home values, while areas near the city actually went up (Wash Park +9.6%, Highlands +0.7%, West Highlands +6.8%, Sloans Lake +5.1%, etc.). Just something to consider as the old "location, location, location" saying does hold true in the Denver Metro area.
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:32 AM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,767,737 times
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I think Lakewood has some interesting potential and the city is actually (finally) seeming have some insight for its future after a long period of being terrified of anything remotely urban.

Lakewood seems like it realizes the opportunity it has with Fastracks. The area through which the trains will run has frankly seen better days in the past, but the potential is there to make a whole series of urban villages along the fastracks lines, and Lakewood seems ready to make this happen.

I also like what Lakewood has done with Belmar. Sure, some will call it "faux urban", "plastic", "fake", etc, and all those things are true, but I actually think it's kind of progressive from another perspective. They turned a dead, lifeless shopping mall into a mixed-use retail/residential/office walkable town center. It might be worth looking at some of the older housing within a quarter mile walk of the edge of the Belmar area. The "Belmar park" neighborhood might be a start.

Lakewood also has some attractive and desirable suburban neighborhoods like Applewood (not technically in Lakewood city limits), and Green Mountain. Housing there is dated somewhat, but the location in both cases is very well situated; close to the mountains while not far from Denver.
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Old 02-20-2008, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Governor's Park/Capitol Hill, Denver, CO
1,536 posts, read 5,520,784 times
Reputation: 1131
Quote:
Originally Posted by movin' on up View Post
so i think that eventually buying a house in highlands would be awesome. it seems like my kind of place. close proximity to the city, nice up-and-coming area, funky and just gritty enough to keep the really stuffy people away.

that said, many houses i'd like are on the upper end of my budget - which brings me to lakewood. i'd like to be within 10-15 minutes of the city (closer if possible) and still have a modest yard for a dog, proximity to parks, walkable to some local bars , etc.

so what's the deal with lakewood? another thread made it seem kind of generic. any sketchy parts to stay away from? would it be good for a 30 year old newly married couple w/o kids (or any plans for kids). are there other people my age in lakewood or should i bite the bullet and buy in highlands?

thanks in advance !
Check out Real Estate Valuations, Homes for Sale, Free Real Estate Information | Zillow Real Estate for a quick pricing reference on individual home values, for sale or not. Great ariel/satellite views with the dollar amount of the property on the roof. If it is a complex or high-rise, it will give you a price range. I love this site!

If you want 10-15 minutes away from downtown, you will need to remain in Denver proper. Lakewood/Jefferson County is as Livecontent and Tfox describe it, but the better areas are more like 20 to 25 minutes or more away. Light rail will help but it will go through some rough areas of Denver first and then some underdeveloped sections of Lakewood, all along 13th Street. Which is basically a gully and a rail road track in Denver running through government projects and fields. It will be all developed and changed but not for several years. Bel Mar is great but not remotely gritty and closer to stuffy then urban. I go there for PF Chang's and Ted's Montana Grill or a movie when downtown is too packed or show times are off. Lakewood and pretty much most of Jefferson County (Arvada, Westminster, Golden, Ken Carly, Littleton, Lakewood, etc..) are vastly different areas. The nicer homes and stuffier neighborhoods are the furthest away from downtown. Most of my siblings are in Jefferson County as they have kids and want large homes. The funny thing is that all of their kids are buying property in Denver, as close to downtown as possible.

I would highly recommend Highlands, Curtis Park (closer to the Ballpark area), Washington Park, Baker, Capitol Hill/Governor's Park, Mayfair, South City Park and Park Hill (south end below 26th ave). Also, the north Sloan's Lake area, north of the lake and maybe the few blocks between Colfax and the south side of the lake. All have some grit, enough to keep it fun and less stuffy, much to do, within 15 minutes of downtown, possible deals to be found if you are quick and willing to do a little rehab as all are older neighborhoods. More diverse restaurants and bars with the nature of the clientele and sevices.

Hope this helps!
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Old 02-20-2008, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,725,122 times
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Good points, DenverAztec and tfox! A lot of what is said about Lakewood about diversity, etc, can also be applied to Aurora, other than being close to the mountains. I think as the waves of gentrification push on and on, it will only be a matter of time until 1950s era neighborhoods with those ubiquitous one-story ranch houses will become "the new cool."
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Old 02-20-2008, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Governor's Park/Capitol Hill, Denver, CO
1,536 posts, read 5,520,784 times
Reputation: 1131
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Good points, DenverAztec and tfox! A lot of what is said about Lakewood about diversity, etc, can also be applied to Aurora, other than being close to the mountains. I think as the waves of gentrification push on and on, it will only be a matter of time until 1950s era neighborhoods with those ubiquitous one-story ranch houses will become "the new cool."
That has already happened. The mid-century homes in south Denver and in Englewood cannot be bought for under $300,000, if remodeled. MobLL just recently posted some pictures of those in the Englewood area and the few neighborhoods in Denver are at about Dahila and Florida. Very cool small homes with intense California flavor. They do a tour of the homes each year for the local elementary school's arts and music programs. It is a step back in time as some of the owners tried to hold true to the original decor and landscaping.



I should point out that Lakewood has a big number of mid-century ranch styled homes as well.

MODeling MID-Century MODern is Back! | Denver Modern Homes

Last edited by Mike from back east; 02-20-2008 at 03:48 PM.. Reason: Merging 2:1
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