September 11, 2023

The Path to Homeownership in Denver: Trading Up vs. Saving in Denver Real Estate

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Sarah Thomsen

The Path to Homeownership in Denver: Trading Up vs. Saving in Denver Real Estate

The dream of homeownership has long been a fundamental part of the American Dream. For many, owning a home is not only a symbol of financial stability but also a place to build a life and create lasting memories. However, in today's competitive Denver real estate market, the traditional wisdom of "saving your way to homeownership" may not be the most efficient strategy. Instead, a more viable approach could be to get your foot in the door at any level of ownership, such as a condo or townhome, and then trade up when the opportunity arises. In this blog, we'll explore why trying to save your way to homeownership might be a challenging endeavor in Denver, and why the strategy of trading up can be a more realistic and rewarding path.

The Challenge of Saving Your Way to Homeownership in Denver Real Estate

1. Inflation and Rising Home Prices in Denver

One of the most significant challenges in saving for a home in Denver is the relentless march of inflation and rising home prices in the Denver real estate market. Over the years, the purchasing power of your savings can erode, making it increasingly difficult to keep up with the soaring costs of real estate in Denver. While diligent saving is essential, it can be tough to outpace the rate at which home values appreciate in many Denver neighborhoods.

2. Opportunity Costs in Denver Real Estate

While you are working away to save, the market isn't waiting for you. Saving for a higher downpayment will help you with a lower principle amount on your mortgage and help you have a lower payment, but you will not be able to outpace average Denver market appreciation of 6% every year. So while you're saving your pennies, the market is appreciating. You have to gage your desire to have a larger downpayment against the market appreciating without you in it. For example, if you save an extra $5000 in a year (that's awesome!), but had you purchased a "stepping stone home" with a loan program that require low or no money down that was a $300,000 condo - in that same year on average you would have made $18,000 in appreciation. So by waiting until you have saved up a big 20% downpayment - you just lost $18,000 in potential equity.

3. Unpredictable Market Conditions in Denver Real Estate

The Denver real estate market is influenced by numerous factors, including economic conditions, interest rates, and housing supply and demand. Attempting to save a specific amount while these variables are constantly changing in the Denver real estate market can be a daunting task. Even if you diligently save for years, you may still find yourself priced out of the Denver real estate market due to unexpected market fluctuations. That's why it's more important than ever to work with an agent that will walk you through how you can get a home, no matter how much you have to put down.

The Strategy of Trading Up in Denver Real Estate

1. Building Equity in Denver Real Estate

Instead of waiting to save for a dream home in Denver, consider the benefits of starting with a more affordable property, like a condo or townhome in Denver's real estate market. These properties often come with lower down payment requirements, making homeownership more accessible in Denver. By getting into the Denver real estate market earlier, you can start building equity and benefit from the appreciation of your property over time. You won't feel "behind" the market, even if you're not in your dream home for a short period of time.

2. Leveraging Appreciation in Denver Real Estate

Real estate in Denver has historically been a reliable investment, appreciating in value over time on average of 6% per year. By owning a property in Denver, even if it's a smaller one, you can benefit from the appreciation of your asset. As your property's value increases in Denver's real estate market, you can leverage this equity to trade up to a larger or more desirable home when the time is right. When you sell that home, your income is tax free and can be rolled into a substantial down payment into your next home.

3. Opportunity for Rental Income in Denver Real Estate

You may decide to hold onto your "trade up home" when you're ready to move (I love this strategy!). Owning a smaller property like a condo or townhome in Denver can provide opportunities for rental income in the Denver real estate market. You can rent out your property in to generate additional cash flow, helping you save for future investments or covering the costs of a larger home you decide to buy.

4. Gaining Homeownership Experience in Denver Real Estate

Starting with a smaller property in Denver allows you to gain valuable homeownership experience. You'll become familiar with the responsibilities of maintaining a home, managing finances, and navigating the Denver real estate market. This experience can be invaluable when you decide to trade up to a larger property in the Denver real estate market.

Saving for homeownership is a commendable goal, the rapidly changing real estate landscape and the challenges of outpacing market appreciation with savings make it a difficult endeavor, especially in the competitive Denver real estate market. Instead, consider the strategy of trading up by purchasing a more affordable property like a condo or townhome in the Denver real estate market. This approach allows you to enter the market sooner, build equity, and leverage appreciation, all while gaining valuable homeownership experience specific to Denver. Ultimately, the path to homeownership in Denver is not just about saving; it's about making strategic decisions that align with your financial goals and market conditions in Denver real estate. Step 1 in finding your first home? Talk with us! We start with a 15-minute intro call where we can discuss your goals and start you on the past to home ownership.

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