Whether you are new to the Mile High City or have lived here for years, the Denver neighborhoods continue to evolve and resonate a certain charm. Many older established areas continue to exude a timeless appeal while other up-and-coming neighborhoods attract people with a modern vibe and energy. Finding your dream neighborhood depends on a variety of attributes you find most important in an area. Before you buy or rent a home in Denver, read our guide to finding your dream neighborhood!
There are a number of factors to consider when searching for the perfect neighborhood. Before you go on any tours, consider the following and make note of what you prefer in regards to:
When you visualize your dream home, what do you see? Is it modern and sleek, a cozy bungalow or a more stately Victorian style? Do you want split level, two stories, or do you want to keep it all on one main level? When it comes to Denver architecture, the possibilities are as unique as your personal vision.
Or, maybe you don't have anything in mind yet and are looking for some inspiration. Read our article on the 10 most popular home styles in Denver. Your Usaj Realty broker will be able to tell you what neighborhoods are more likely to have the style that most appeals to you. For example, if you are looking for an early 20th Century bungalow, your Usaj Realty broker will show you properties in Washington Park, Berkeley, Congress Park, and West Highland neighborhoods.
Being in a great school district can be critical to the resale value of your home even if you don't have children. According to the National Association of Realtors, "Buyers' [aged] 37 to 51 neighborhood choices are driven by their convenience to job, but also the quality and convenience of school districts." Your Usaj Realty broker will help you discover how the schools rank and if they are helping or hurting the value of the home.
On the flip side of this, if you are just renting and don't have any children, being located in a great school district may unnecessarily add to the price tag of your rental agreement.
Safety and Crime
Your Usaj Realty broker can inform you of crime statistics in a particular Denver neighborhood. Whether or not it concerns you, it will be good to take this into consideration as it may affect resale value. Keep in mind whether the home has a security system, and adequate outdoor lighting -- both from landscaping and street lights.
Local amenities add to a neighborhood's charm and the quality of life for its residents. Whether it's a park, tennis courts, library, dog park, bike trail, restaurant or coffee shop, a neighborhood's features provide activities to do outside the home. For example, if you love golf, City Park or City Park West are definitely neighborhoods to check out. Finding a neighborhood that offers resources and facilities that meet your needs is crucial to choosing a dream neighborhood in Denver.
What your commute will look like
Before you rent or buy, explore what your route to work will look like. Is the home near a major highway? Will you be able to bike to work if that is important to you? Is the home near a light rail station? Driving the route to your place of work during the time you would ordinarily be commuting is never a bad idea. Checking on how close you are to your favorite grocery store is also crucial during this step. Anywhere you drive or visit on a regular basis is worth a Google Map investigation at the very least!
Taxes and Other Expenses
Depending on the value of your home, which will go up or down depending on the neighborhood, you will pay a coinciding property tax.
According to NOLO, "In Colorado, the taxable value of a home is 7.96% of its 'actual value' – basically, what the home would sell for on the open market. The 7.96% figure (also known as the assessment ratio) may change from time to time. The taxing authorities multiply the taxable value of your home by the tax rate to arrive at the tax you’ll owe. Let’s say the taxable value of your home is $300,000 and the tax rate is $100 for every $1,000 of taxable value. Your property tax for the year will be $3,000 (30 x $100 = $3,000)."
Other expenses might include:
- Homeowner association fees
- Development or condo regulations that may cost you money
- Gas money it will take if your commute to work or other frequently visited places increases
Ask Your Usaj Realty Broker About Any Impending Changes
Once you've found a home you want to buy, your Usaj Realty broker can contact the city planning office and inform you on any future changes that might be impacting the neighborhood (e.g. future construction projects or road expansions). If you fall in love with a corner lot, you will want to know if the empty lot next door is going to be turned into an apartment complex.
Not-So-Fun Aromas and Cacophony
Whether it's the dog treat factory next door or a neighborhood bar that really likes to party with blaring music until 2 a.m., it would be ideal to discover any noises and smells prior to closing the deal of a new home. Try to swing by at different times, day and night, and make sure you're OK with the surroundings, regardless of the hour.
Ambiance and Environment
This is something that can't be quantified. It's a favorite block or a favorite feeling you get when going to a certain space. If a neighborhood draws you in and makes you want to stay, you know you've found it. Whether it is a quaint Thursday night Farmer's Market in Edgewater, or the perfect card shop, Wordshop, in Highland, or volleyball in Washington Park, your Usaj Realty broker will help you discover your dream neighborhood!
Want Some Suggestions? See Our Dream Neighborhoods Below:
MY FAVORITE DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD IS: Sloan's Lake
"Walking, biking or running around Sloan’s Lake during sunset are some of my favorite things to do! It has the most beautiful views of the city and the mountains."
Kristina Casinelli, Broker Associate
Kristina@usajrealty.com | 775-230-5642
MY FAVORITE DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD IS: Park Hill
"I love the tight-knit, family oriented feel of the community. The annual summer block parties, shady tree lined streets, and walkability/bikeability to so many local places make it an awesome place to live and play!"
Megan Ivy, Broker Associate
Megan@usajrealty.com | 512-663-4486
MY FAVORITE DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD IS: Capitol Hill
"The old homes, the people, and proximity to nightlife and downtown make this area one of Denver's best."
Corey O'Flanagan, Broker Associate
Corey@usajrealty.com | 303-324-5210
MY FAVORITE DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD IS: Congress Park
"One of my favorite streets is Historic 7th Avenue. I love the wide street, and proximity to parks and the city! "
Jenny Usaj, Employing Broker
Jenny@usajrealty.com | 720-883-5714
MY FAVORITE DENVER NEIGHBORHOOD IS: Union Station
"I love the Union Station neighborhood for its walkability, ever-evolving restaurant and bar scene, and random pop-up markets and parks. You will never be bored in the Union Station neighborhood!"
Kristin Boritzke, Broker Associate
Kristin@usajrealty.com | 262-751-7980
"The park adds a certain spark to the neighborhood that is unseen in any other area in Denver. Whether you want to play tennis, volleyball, standup paddle board or run, Wash Park has it all."
Raymie Higgins, Broker Associate
Raymie@usajrealty.com | 970-390-3065
(Editor's note: This blog was originally published in June of 2017. It has been revised and updated to reflect current trends).