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The first time I bought a house in Denver, the city—and the country—was still trying to claw its way out of the Great Recession. Home prices in Denver had dropped 13 percent between 2007 and 2008; they fell another one percent between 2008 and 2009. The average home price in the Mile High City in 2010, when my then partner and I purchased our home, was $261,897. Today, the average is $798,417.
I became acutely aware of how much Denver’s real estate market had changed when I went house shopping again in 2020. My real estate agent showed me properties for three months. The places I could afford were what one might politely call fixer-uppers, and anything that was in decent condition had multiple cash offers, all well over the asking price. I gave up, re-signed a lease on an apartment, and sulked.
If I had read Philip Clapham’s “13 Tips for Buyers Navigating Denver’s Real Estate Market,” I might’ve fared better in my search. In particular, tip number nine—“Consider a condo or townhome if you’re a first-time homebuyer”—would have helped me. Although I wasn’t a first-timer, I hadn’t really considered anything other than a single-family home. Had I been privy to the information that attached dwellings have an average sale price of $495,000 in Denver, I might’ve asked my agent to focus on those properties. Ultimately, I figured out on my own that a townhouse was a good option for me when I wandered by a cute one in Rosedale, which I bought in late 2020.
I was very fortunate to find something in my price range that didn’t conjure scenes from 1986’s The Money Pit, but the process wasn’t easy—or fun. And, if I’m being honest, my townhouse isn’t perfect. It has some quirks; it needs a little TLC; and sharing a wall with a neighbor isn’t always ideal. Clapham addresses this you-can’t-have-it-all reality in the feature, too. It’s a good lesson to learn, especially if you’re planning to (attempt to) buy a Denver home any time soon. Happy hunting.