Renting vs Buying Denver Homes
I have blogged before about the Denver real estate market being better for buyers than for renters. However, since moving here from Chicago in 2006, I was a renter myself. But not any more!
I finally took my own advise and purchased a home from New Town Builders in the Stapleton neighborhood. This was not the first home I’ve ever purchased but, since it had been so long since I owned a home, I was eligible for several “first time” home buyer programs as well as an FHA loan. Or I could have put 20% down and went with a conventional loan.
Luckily I was working with an excellent lender (Morgan Pennington at Gateway Mortgage) who was able to work up several scenarios for me and in the end I decided to use my VA loan. I based this decision primarily on the fact that a VA loan can provide 100% financing but does not require payment of any mortgage insurance.
The pre-approval process was pretty painless (although gathering the documentation necessary for the formal application, signing all the disclosures and coming up with additional documentation for the underwriter will help me to empathize with my next buyer) and once I had a price point to work with my wife and I went out looking for homes.
We decided to go with The Solaris Collection which, as you may have guessed from the name, comes with photovoltaic solar panels as a standard feature. New Town prepays the lease, which transfers to the new home owner at closing. So there are no ongoing costs associated with the system and the leasing company will maintain the panels for the next 20-year. But New Town doesn’t just slap solar on a typical house.
New Town incorporates many other sustainable and energy-efficient features like advanced framing techniques; high efficiency, sealed combustion furnaces and hot water heaters; duct work with very low leakage levels; low VOC carpet and paint; and EnergyStar appliances. Furthermore, they back it up with a full energy audit and HERS score. Our house scored a 51! New Town also offers a Zero Energy home, but with our timeframe we couldn’t wait for one of those to be built.
The New Town staff was excellent to work with too. Yet this was my first home purchase as a REALTOR and I was representing myself in this transaction. So sometimes I had a hard time differentiating if I was being a good agent or a pain-in-the-neck buyer when I had to bring issues to the builder’s attention. Normally I have no problem advocating on behalf of a client, but I was worried sometimes when I pointed out things, like a tiny chip on the granite countertop, or some flaws in the paint, that I was being too demanding.
All in all buying this home has worked out really well, and I am sure the experience will make me a better buyer’s agent in the future. So if you, or anyone that you know, are interesting in purchasing a home please give me a call. As always, I will donate 5% any commissions that I earn to local charities.
In fact, I divided up 5% of what I earned on this transaction three ways, between The Logan School for Creative Learning, The Urban Farm at Stapleton, and Veterans’ Green Jobs.