Hi everyone. My wife and I are considering a move for our primary residence from San Diego, and are looking at the various Colorado markets. I know this is an investor forum, but I'd like to treat our personal home purchase as much like an investment as possible. We're looking at the whole I-25 Corridor, but I wanted to ask specifically about Colorado Springs, as the prices there seem a bit lower than further north. After we sell our San Diego home we should have quite a bit of cash on hand and we'd be looking at a max budget of $300K after purchase and any renovations, but it would be great if we could spend much closer to $200K. We're not looking for a huge home (1200-1600 square feet is plenty) but a decent sized yard would be a plus. We COULD pay cash for the home if that makes a great deal possible...but ideally would prefer to get a mortgage and invest the rest of the money (in other real estate, stocks, etc.).
We'll be in Colorado Springs for a few days mid-march (before heading further north to check out the areas around Denver/Boulder/etc.) so I want to make sure we tour all the potentially interesting areas. Any recommendations? What should I know about the market in this area? Is crime really as big a concern as some other forum posts make it sound? Just trying to get the lay of the land so we can make the most of our few days in town.
Like anywhere, there are good areas and bad areas. In the springs, there are no warzones, but it seems like parts of the west side of town is probably the less desired side of town. The older areas can be a bit less well maintained, etc, and the punch to property values that it creates. I dont know if there is anywhere in the springs I wouldnt walk around in at night, its not a bad place overall.
If you want to meet up when you come to Denver, I can tell you much more about Denver and Boulder than I can the springs.
My first question for you is what type of work you are looking to find once you move out this direction? If you are like most folks moving to Colorado for the tech scene then up north would have a lot more options in terms of employment, but as you say it does come with a little bit of a premium. Just for reference in price for north of Denver you can pick up a home in the size range you want with 1/8 acre lot for sub 300k on the eastern side of I25. Occasionally where i live in Erie you can get about 1500sqft for 250k or so.
As for Colorado Springs there is a lot of variance in the prices. I have family that live in a few different areas of the city and the areas they have told me to generally steer clear of are Fountain and some areas near Airport Rd. There are others on the list, but those are the ones that I can currently remember.
Thanks for the info guys.
@Dan Mackin - Work is not a huge concern. I am a telecommuting software engineer and can work anywhere. Eventually we might focus on investing full-time or start some other businesses (part of the motivation to move from San Diego is to put more of our equity to use generating cashflow vs having so much tied into our current home (not to mention the large monthly mortgage payment).
We would love to have you in Colorado Springs! Obviously, as in any area, there is a good bit of variance within the Colorado Springs market depending on what you are looking for (age of home, home size, lot size, neighborhood feel, etc) relative to the different parts of town. Home prices in Colorado Springs are generally 20-30% lower than comparable properties in the Denver Metro area, and probably 10-20% less than areas farther north (Fort Collins, Greeley...). I'm a little biased because I live here, but I think you get a lot for your money in a great city. As a general rule, prices in the Springs go up as you trend north. The exception to that rule is the Broadmoor area on the SW section of town and properties along the foothills on the west side of town. Newer developments are generally on the north and east sides of town.
There is plenty to choose from in the $2-300K price range in most parts of town (a really great property just showed up under $300K on the north end of town that I could point to towards as an example).
@Kenneth Littrell just finished house hunting here in that exact price range and could give you some great feedback from the perspective of someone new to the area.
If you want to talk through things in greater detail, my phone number is listed in my profile, or we can grab coffee/beer while you are in town.
I'm going to go ahead and throw my 2 cents in.
First of all I am a Realtor here in Colorado Springs who primarily works with investors. So if you are looking for a fixer upper, I am your go to guy for that. I also do retail residential sales for any buyer or seller.
Looking at Front Range Colorado... Your lifestyle may depict your city.
Colorado Springs: Great if you have an adventurous spirit as there are awesome hiking trails all over town and less than 20-30 minutes to super popular hiking areas like the Manitou Springs Incline, Cheyenne Canyon, Palmer Park, etc. You'll also get the most house for your dollar here.
Denver: If you're all about city life with a good night life, tons of unique restaurants, and your looking for a job in the higher paid tech industries, this will be your best option. Homes cost the most here and its not surprising to see small homes go for $400k+ in a matter of days.
Fort Collins: If you're close to retirement or going to college this is a great town. Fort Collins has been ranked multiple times as best city to retire in. Home prices are slightly less than the Denver area.
Greeley: Another college town. Greeley is really started to grow and is very well known for their agriculture. You won't find much for hiking there. Home prices are slighlty less than Colorado Springs.
As for Colorado Springs: This is a very unique town. I would suggest avoiding the south side of town. The west side is a highly desirable place to live as you are right up against the mountains, near hiking, and great views. Homes are older, smaller, and a bit more money per sq ft here. The east side of town is booming. You can easily get a 2000+ sq ft house for less than $225k. The north side is nice with mid to high end homes. What type of lifestyle you want may help you pick what side of town you want to live on.
Wow great insight. Thank you @Aaron Moore and @Colin Smith . We'd definitely lean toward the "adventurous" category. And really want to be as close to nature/hiking/parks as possible. Sounds like western colorado springs should be an area to focus on. I will hit you guys up with more questions as they come to me.
Colorado Springs definitely sounds like the city for you then! There are hiking trails all over and really great mountain biking if you're into that. In about 2-2.5 hours you can get to both Breckenridge and Monarch ski resorts. The city is at the base of one of Colorado's 54 fourteeners. We are also home to the US Olympic training center. If you love the outdoors then this is place for you as Colorado Springs has been ranked in the top 5 most athletic / fit cities to live in. Every Tuesday evening there is the Jack Quinn run that goes through the downtown area. Tons of people attend every week.
Check out NW Co Spings Jamie. I used to live just off of Ute Park and loved it. Try to get into District 20 or Chyene Mnt school districts. If not for your kids, for the resale.
@Jamie Greenberg I have nothing but great things to say about Colorado Springs, and there are enough x-Californians there to make you feel right at home! I in-boxed you some of my thoughts from my buying experience there. @Aaron Moore helped me a great deal and I have a house on contract there right now.
Best of luck and enjoy that trip there in March!
@Jamie Greenberg I can't speak much to the Springs area, but I am going through my own purchase in the Denver area right now with what sounds like similar requirements as you. I also lived in Fort Collins for 7 years and know that area pretty well. Hit me up if you have any questions I can answer for you.
BTW, what makes you want to leave California?
@Jamie Greenberg Having moved from SD to the Springs last June, I can tell you the air is much cleaner, traffic is tollerable, and the people are friendlier. You will miss good Mexican food and in-and-out burger though. If you are a fan of nature you might want to check out Black Forrest, and if you plan to split time between the Springs and Denver you should look at Castle Rock, Monument and Palmer Lake.
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