By John Stegner & Brian Lehnerz, Broker/Owners, New Era Realty
Denver Loft and Condo living can sound like vacation life sitting beside the pool instead of lawn chores or shoveling snow most weekends. Look before you leap. Consider these factors before committing to a new lifestyle. It’s right for some but not for everyone.
1. The new lifestyle: Attractive advantages of this Downtown Denver real estate can turn into disadvantages. For example, that pool sounds so good. You don’t even have to maintain it. But, if you don’t use it, will you end up resenting paying those monthly Homeowner fees to maintain it? Pick your amenities carefully and remember you are going to be paying for them whether or not you use them. Also, how is your lifestyle likely to change in the future. I cannot tell you how many Denver lofts and condos that I show have baby equipment. Obviously, those folks didn’t plan ahead and now are moving. Don’t get me wrong. Some buildings are great for kids with proximity to good schools, park and recreation. But, many are not. So, think carefully if you might be starting a family in the foreseeable future. We would suggest a family-friendly evaluation of the building and the neighborhood/schools first. Don’t forget to get more than one bedroom and make sure there is a bath tub instead just a shower.
2. Common Responsibilities: Majority rules in a condo association. But, democracy can feel like dictatorship. Maintenance, improvement and repair costs are ultimately paid by you in form of monthly fees. The majority is going to decide for you how your monthly fees will increase. Along with that often comes confrontations and disagreements. Don’t forget to read the minutes of the Board meetings and all the community documents. We recommend that you even talk to a few building residents to get the real story on the building before you buy. You can even call the president of the association for a quick conversation about any issues that might be coming up.
3. Personal Privacy: Do you consider yourself to be a “private person”. Living in a loft or condo can seem convenient and trendy, but remember your privacy is about the same as you have in an apartment. Neighbors are close. People talk. If you value your privacy, you might feel more at home in a single family house. The other side of the coin is that living in building offers a built-in social network. It’s easy to make friends at the pool or while you are grilling at the community bar-be-que. A tight knit community can be fun and even safer when you know some of your neighbors.
4. You Still Have Repairs: Most maintenance items are covered by condo associations. But, you still have to maintain the interior of your unit. You have to take care of routine repairs and interior maintenance on your home. Plus, you have to review the condo reserves to make sure they are ready for a catastrophic repair if it becomes necessary. Even painting and roof replacement can break the bank at some associations. Then, you could face the dreaded “special assessment” from the Board which didn’t plan well enough in the first place.
Finally, every building has a history and a reputation. Make sure your Realtor has been selling lofts and condos throughout Denver so s/he knows the stories to tell you. A competent Realtor will know the history of most buildings and will be able to assist in determining the right value for a particular unit. An appraiser is frankly not as knowledgeable as a good Realtor when it comes to determining value. Why? Because an appraiser has to rely mostly on sold data when the direction of prices for the current inventories can also be critical.
Your competent Denver Realtor will also be able to advise about which building are most likely to offer the best investment. S/he will consider association dues price per square foot , laundry facilities, a balcony or deck, the parking situation, area amenities and other factors will be essential in the potential appreciation.
Hey, but there is still something for having access to restaurants just outside their front door. Imagine having your coffee shop next door. Some friends as neighbors in your building. Your own two feet as your primary mode of transportation. I have clients who don’t even own a car and love their green lifestyle. It sure beats being stuck on the highway in rush hour traffic.
We would love to help you consider downtown Denver real estate After we talk, we can help you find the perfect loft or condo to call your home. Just contact us with the form below and we will set up a time to get to know your needs and your dreams. From there, you will find that no one will work than than us to make your dreams come true. That’s our passion. We turn dreams into reality!