Home Buying in Denver>Question Details

Margaret, Home Buyer in Issaquah, WA

if i want to buy a "cabin in the woods" in the next three years, i'm 42yo, and don't have a down payment, should i rent in denver

Asked by Margaret, Issaquah, WA Tue Jun 14, 2011

proper or buy condo? my husband really wants an accessible "get away" and being an ED doctor allows me 3 days/week to "get away somewhere close" to Denver where i work. He is getting his degree in 2 years and will most likely have to work in Denver proper too. should we rent in denver and work on down payment for "get away". or should we buy townhome in Denver then buy "get away" because the market is so good for buyers right now (although, denver doesn't seem to be as affected as other cities or states in the price range we are looking for 200,000 to 300,000)

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Hi Margaret,
Cabin in the woods sounds like my sisters home in Kiowa in the black forest. It is a drive to anywhere and on county maintained dirt roads. Watch what you wish for...you might just get it!On the other hand I live on 3 acres near 1-70 and E-470. It is a "buffer zone" with commercial,residential,industrial,agriculture as well as Buckley Air Force Base. The further south you go the more trees you get.Does he/you want to be closer to mountains?Cabin in mountains has great views but more difficult to travel. I would suggest buying NOW. There will not be another "perfect storm" for buyers until never!!!Prices are down as well as interest rates. Do you have children in school?Another thing to think about. If you can buy now, you should. Rental prices are higher than mortgage. The farther east you go ...Watkins,bennett,Byers are all easily accessable to I-70 and the toll,making traffic and commuting much easier.I am close to your age. I have a hard time keeping the property in tip top shape. I work all day,raise children and then keep house. Make sure tour husband is willing to do ALL the hard work in mataining the cabin in the woods. Money helps since hard work sucks...unless you enjoy that sort of thing. There will always be an issue with water,electric,snow roads and etc. I have a well and propane and horses and chickens to keep the weeds down. I am on prairie but with the well I can have an orchard and use as much water as needed for Free. Just insure your pump! There are also no covenants in a lot of areas, which has both it's advantages and disadvantages. I prefer to know my neighbors, not have them come over if the garage door is open to gab and drink if you have some of those!
Renting where the cabin you would buy for 6 months is a good idea so you get the "jist" of that kind of living. Deckers,Sedalia,Castle Rock are also areas heavily wooded. Call if you want more info on any property you might have interest in and I will be glad to assist!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
Are you assuming that rent will be less than a house payment, so you'll be able to save more for that cabin? If that is what you're thinking I encourage you to look more closely at the numbers. I've done some analysis in Denver's northern suburbs, and find that people can own for about the same payment as renting. Of course, they may have maintenance costs in their own home, but there is also a tax advantage for most folks too.

Of course, the picture may be different in Denver proper, but it wouldn't take long to crunch the numbers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Something to take into consideration not mentioned below is that most cabins in the woods won't qualify for a loan and sell for cash only, unless thry have water and septic/sewer, in which case you can plan on going from $25-50k to $150-175k. Good luck!

Tim Klein
Metro Brokers - The Realty Werks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
This sounds like a question that is better suited for your financial planner. However, if it were me, and I found something I wanted to buy in the price range I was looking for I would buy. We have record low interest rates and home prices in Denver, and if you can afford to buy you will be setting yourself up for a strong financial future. If you would like to talk about it more, or just want some information on what your options really are, feel free to contact me. I specialize in first time home buyers
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Hi Margaret. I have lived the Denver area since 1973 and love it. I now live in Lakewood (10 minutes from Denver) but lived in the mountain foothills west of Denver for 12 years. In your price range, you can find a nice condo. Some condo communities are distressed (HOA's) so a close look at an individual property is key. Lenders are tougher on loans so it is important to have some type of downpayment, especially on a second home. With the market conditions, rental inventory is at an all time low.

If I can send you more information about what is happening here in Denver, let me know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Sounds exciting either way! I think the best answer is to gather as much information about all the scenarios before you pick one of them. With the help of a good tax person, maybe even a financial planner, and of course, a great REALTOR, you will be able answer all the questions you need before you commit.

I see you are from Washington. Have you actually been out looking, in person, for homes, and mountain homes? Here is a timeline I would suggest.

Get ahold of your short term and long term financial picture. Meet with an excellent lender ( I have recs if you need one) who will help you get a sense of what payments would be like if you own one or two properties. The tax person (again, I have great recs) will then help you understand the tax implications of property ownership. There are pros and cons, with primary home and second home rules being different.

Next, go look at some properties. Get a feel of where you want to be in Denver. You might find the perfect area, and that will dictate, in part, whether you want to buy or sell. OR, you may fall in love with a mountain property and decide you will skimp a little in Denver if it means getting the place of your dreams in the hills.

Each step of the way, you will get more and more information and eventually the decision will be one that you feel good about.

That was probably more of an answer than you wanted. I don't find I often get to say a simple "yes" or "no". It is an interesting market right now, with some real advantages. Be sure you find them!

All the best,

Web Reference: http://www.dwellstrong.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
This sounds like a personal financial decision to me, and I doubt you're going to get anyone to give you advice one way or another. You should sit down with a financial planner and figure out what your short and long term goals are, and what you need to do in order to achieve those goals.

Is buying a cabin in the woods (and use it only 2-3 days/week) really the best use of your money? (I can't answer that for you -- but for me, it wouldn't be). In my own personal opinion....I think buying a primary residence would be high on my list of things to accomplish first. But only you can decide what your financial goals should be.
Web Reference: http://www.sallygrenier.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Hi Margaret,

I'd say the first step would be to get out and look at some townhomes in Denver to see if there is anything you would like. I'd be happy to show you townhomes if you are not already working with another Realtor. Please visit my website at http://websavvyrealestate.com to begin your home search.

J. David Lampe
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
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