View from 1700 Bassett Street, #1018, a Usaj Realty listing.
Real estate has always been considered a smart investment, especially when other options are either too volatile or delivering too small a return. The big question is this: When buying an investment property, what type is best for long-term success and where should I buy?
Let's start with the 'where.' U.S. News and World Report looked at the 100 most populous metro areas and landing second on the list (behind Austin, Tex.) was Denver. Although housing prices have been rising, the Mile High City is still considered a good value when considering its desirable traits which include a strong job market and quality of life.
With a growing population, a great climate and easy access to an amazing array of outdoor and cultural activities, Denver is proving extremely popular with millennials, who make up nearly 25% of the population.
Getting A Return When Buying an Investment Property
There are obviously other great cities in which to invest, but make sure you carefully weigh the location to attract solid tenants who will allow you to get a great return on your investment.
So now we come to the 'what' - what type of property should you buy?
Of course, this largely depends on whether you plan to live in the property or rent it out, but there is one solution that suits both scenarios, and that's a city condo.
Urban living looks to be the wave of the future, and it's a fantastic option for millennials who are first-time home buyers.
City condos can be modern, luxurious, totally on-trend, and located in the heart of the action. Walk to work, stroll to the coffee shop or dine out without the argument over who drives. What's not to love?
Millennials Love Denver
There's a misconception that millennials are a generation of renters but research proves otherwise. In fact, 37% of homebuyers belong to the millennial generation.
Buying makes more financial sense for this market, especially when other investments, such as stocks and bonds, have been on a volatile course. And buying in a 'hot' location, such as Denver, makes it a safer bet.
That city condo is sounding more appealing, right?
The secret is to buy the right city condo at the right price. In other words, buy low and sell high! To help you achieve this, it's best to enlist the help of a local Usaj Realty realtor.
Easy Access To Work and Play
There are several great neighborhoods from which to choose in Denver, all offering something different. Millennial singles and couples tend to favor central Denver where the commute is pretty much non-existent.
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes, great transport links and if you choose the right city condo, spectacular views of both the city and the Rocky Mountains. Now that's a WOW factor!
Talk to a cross section of people and they will tell you there are 'pros and cons' when buying a city condo. Generally, however, if you invest wisely, there are a multitude of 'pros.' Remember, you're buying a home without the maintenance of a detached, single-family residence. That's an absolute advantage whether the condo is an investment property or a home.
If you bought a house, there may be a pool that comes with it. But you'll also have all the maintenance costs that are associated with it, too. With a condo, if there's a pool, you don't have to personally maintain it as it's covered with your homeowner's association fee. There are also other great amenities typically included with condo living. Some of those benefits may include a fitness center or gym, community lounge, off-street parking, social activities, and guest suites and conference rooms available to rent.
Then there's the security angle - a great advantage for the investor who has the condo as a second home. If security is important to you, be sure to ask your realtor for condos that offer gated or locked entries, doormen or security guards. Many condos are located in secured buildings.
Affordable Option For First-Time Buyers
Finally, city condos can be a far more affordable option for first-time home buyers.
There are certain fees and rules involved in owning a city condo, all of which your Usaj Realty broker will advise you. Generally, those fees are easily offset by what you save in utility and maintenance costs. Don't be afraid to ask the difficult questions -- this is a major investment and you want to get it right.
For first-time buyers, choosing a condo usually means a lower down payment. In fact, the down payment is not as big an issue as some people think.
Plan Your Goals
Before you meet with your Usaj realtor, it's a good idea to make a few notes. How much can you afford? What are your long-term property goals? Are you buying the condo to live in or rent out? How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you want? What amenities would you like?
Remember, if it's an investment property in which you intend to make money, the criteria may be quite different than a home in which you want to live. Whereas you might personally prefer a quieter neighborhood, for rental purposes, a city condo close to the action might be a wiser choice.
In other words, the better the location and amenities, the higher the value of your condo in the future.
If you're going to be viewing a few properties, a house hunting checklist is a great idea. That way you can sit down later, go back over the information and make sensible decisions.
Denver's Top Neighborhoods
So we've taken a good hard look at the what's, why's and when's -- so let's take one more look at the 'where.'
If you're looking to purchase in the near future, it's definitely worth checking out properties in Denver, especially those close to downtown. According to recent property valuations from the city of Denver, the best Denver neighborhoods for first-time homebuyers to consider are Sun Valley, Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Barnum and Valverde. Other markets expecting to see increases in value are the southwest Denver neighborhoods of Ruby Hill, Harvey Park South and College View.
Running along the South Platte River, Ruby Hill is conveniently located on the west side of I-25, making commuting into the city or mountains a breeze. And the proposed redevelopment of Loretto Heights is sure to increase property values of the adjoining neighborhoods of Harvey Park South and College View.
With 300 days of sunshine a year and the Rocky Mountains a short drive away, Denver continues to be a great place in which to invest in real estate, whether for your next home or as an investment. And buying a condo is a great way to get started.
(Editor's note: This blog was originally published in December of 2016. It has been updated and edited to provide current information and trends).
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