My wife and I are moving to either the SF Bay area or Colorado. We are both 30yrs/no child and wanting to rent for a year or so before buy-any advice?

Asked by Chris G. Elkins, 72908 Mon Feb 11, 2013

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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Feb 11, 2013
If you end up coming to San Francisco I think you should definitely rent first if you don't know the area. There are lots of different neighborhoods and lots of different micro-climates, so lots of choices. Prices are also very high right now so I don't think you will hurt yourself by waiting, and you don't want to purchase before you learn the city only to find out you blew your choice.

What I would do is get a handle on what you think is your optimum location to buy and then rent there, checking out other neighborhoods while you're living there to make sure. Although your purchase is off in the future, me or one of my team could show you around to give you some ideas - we work with a lot of out of area clients. In case you don't like the weather or the prices, we also work in surrounding areas and can help you figure out which of those might work as well.

If you want to drop me a line (contact info below) with your price range and size criteria I can tell you if the city will work.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
2 votes
Jena Beaver, Home Owner, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Feb 11, 2013
Hi Chris,

My husband and I lived in Denver for 4 years before moving to San Francisco 6 years ago. Here are the immediate differences, as I see it:

1. Colorado is certainly more of a driving city. You can make do in SF without a car (which I prefer), but CO is more spread out. I found driving in Denver, being originally from Florida, to be a traumatizing experience without 4-wheel drive. If you don't mind driving and have the right car though, that should be a non-issue.
2. The obvious cost-of-living issue. Moving from Denver to SF, our rent exactly doubled (but so did our salaries). The biggest issue with cost of living though is whether or not you plan to eventually buy. We've been trying to purchase a single-family home in the Bay area for four years. If we were in Colorado, we would have been able to make that happen by now.
3. As far as things to do for a young couple without kids like yourselves, both offer similar entertainment: plenty of sports teams, concerts, and outdoor activities. SF absolutely has a leg up on CO when it comes to food/restaurants though.
4. The last comparison I'll make is the weather. SF is a temperate climate, meaning it's pretty constant year round. As someone else here mentioned, the city does have lots of micro climates, so do your research and find which neighborhood's weather suits you since you'll be dealing with it all year. Denver/CO has four distinct seasons, and despite it's rep for cold weather and snow, it's definitely not the northeast (meaning you won't have 5 months of hardcore snowy winters). Really, the weather in both locations is good, its just a matter of personal preference.

Hope this helps!

1 vote
Thanks so much!! We need all the info we can get.. =)
Flag Fri Feb 22, 2013
Gregory Karr, , San Francisco, CA
Mon Feb 11, 2013
Back to basics: San Francisco is going to cost you more than Colorado and right now sellers rule the market in the city. That's the way it usually is in San Francisco. If you want something decent then you are looking at $550,000 for a condo and $800,000 for a single family home. I don't know what prices are like in Colorado, but probably not as high as they are here. Waiting a year could cost you dearly as prices in some neighborhoods have increased 15% and even 20% over the last twelve months and it doesn't look like prices are going to come down within the next year. There aren't many homes for sale and this is bad for buyers. They have to compete like mad to get a place and often end up paying 10% and more over the asking price. A decent home will definitely get multiple offers. Prices may not continue to increase as quickly as they are right now, but I would say a 5% to 10% increase is a pretty safe bet in decent neighborhoods over the next 12 months. So, you're looking at another $55,000 minimum if you wait a year to buy. Don't be afraid of selecting the wrong neighborhood. I don't know how folks get this thought. Any broker worth his salt can easily guide you in the right direction and tell you which neighborhoods are best avoided, too. Plus, if you just drive around and take a look, you can pretty much tell what's good and what's not. Call Sherly, the mortgage broker who responded to you. She can easily tell you how much of a mortgage you can get and that will help you narrow down your choices as far as price is concerned. The competition is tough here and if you don't know what you can afford you'll get beat out every time. Around 30% of all offers are all cash. See what I mean about competition? With mortgage interest rates so low today and rents so high, it is also a pretty safe bet that buying right away is your best financial option. Mortgage interest rates are predicted to tend up in the coming months and getting a low rate now can save you thousands (like another $50,000) over the life of the loan. Good luck. My biased opinion is to move to San Francisco. This city has so much going for it, it's really impossible to compare it to any city in Colorado. Of course if you love old John Denver songs then you may think otherwise. :-) Enjoy the day and contact me if you want to talk.
1 vote
JOHN A ZAMBR…, Agent, Arvada, CO
Sun Feb 17, 2013
As a native of Colorado, I can attest to the quality of life in Colorado. weather you want peace and serenity in the beautiful mountains , or city life in the heart of downtown Denver, there is also some great trendy neighborhoods filled with 30 somethings like yourselves , The Highlands, one of the more popular is within walking distance to downtown and is filled with lots of new restaurants as well as older mexican american establishments that have been there for decades . The downtown Denver area is home to the ballpark district (Home to the Colorado Rocky's ) also known as "LODO" (lower downtown) . this area is filled with blocks upon blocks of bars and restaurants, live entertainment and luxury condos.
The mountains in colorado are close to Downtown Denver , you can literally live on a mountain top at 9000 feet above sea level and be in downtown in about 40 minutes , The mountain lifestyle one of serenity as well as beauty , You will live amongst deer, elk, bear, mountain lions ,and bald eagles and many many more forms of wild life .
There are lots of options in Colorado , something for every one. feel free to contact me via my trulia profile with any specific questions ..good luck in you search
0 votes
David Tran, Home Buyer, San Francisco, CA
Fri Feb 15, 2013
Lived in Denver for 4 years, moved to SF for the last 6yrs. Make you money and save in SF, move to Denver, buy a house and live mortgage free. Given that a down payment in SF is a house in Denver.
0 votes
David Tapper, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Thu Feb 14, 2013
You are very smart to rent first. You need to find a place you want to call home before you jump into home buying. It's extremely expensive to make a mistake in real estate.

Once you decide where you are going, go online and look for property management companies or agents who work with tenants to help you find a place.



David Tapper
Coldwell Banker
0 votes
Tom Flinn, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Feb 11, 2013
I lived in Denver for 5 years and now SF since 1996. Enail me and Ill tell you all about both. Hill & Co.
0 votes
Jeff and Kaye…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Mon Feb 11, 2013
You didn't mention where in Colorado. Being a Colorado resident for the majority of my life and having picked it as the place I wanted to live, I may be biased. However, Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank, a very well respected Real Estate "guru" was recently interviewed on the today show stating that Cenver is the top recovering city in the US. Her reasons included a young population (your age), very tech savy and well educated, arts, drawing great new jobs and low foreclosures. I think that is great news for the largest city in Colorado as well as it's surrounding communities, Colorado Springs, Summit County (Vail, Breckenridge, Eagle). If you are considering Colorado Springs let me know and I can give you lots of additional information to look at.
0 votes
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