Denver CO Real Estate Blog

How to stay proactive now and post-Covid-19

As Denver (as of May 2020) is reopening from shelter-in-place orders, you might be thinking that now is the time to reconsider plans that may have been on hold to buy or sell a home. The post-Covid-19 time is a unique moment in history and real estate and we’ve outlined some tips to help you stay proactive so you can make your real estate goals come true. 

For both: Know the market

As the United States faces a challenging economic time, real estate trends are shifting. Across Colorado, and in Denver, the market is considered cool according to Zillow, favoring a buyers’ market. If you wanted to buy before Covid-19, now may be your moment and the current median home value in Denver is $465,466 according to Zillow. Real estate agents in Denver are noting how home values have gone up 1.7% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will fall -1.7% within the next year. For sellers, keep an eye on the trends and talk with your agent to see what is projected for your specific neighborhood.  

For buyers: Stay up-to-date about mortgages

As a buyer, you are probably wondering what the deal is with low mortgage rates. Mortgage rates were already low before the coronavirus hit the U.S.: 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.47% in February 2020, compared with 4.37% in February 2019. In March 2020, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to nearly zero. This caused mortgage rates to hit a low of 3.2%. Since March, rates have been bouncing up and down and that was also when ...

The Cost of Living in Denver 2020


Denver, Colorado is a very desirable place to live in the United States. For this reason, it is not particularly the cheapest place to live. However, it is very affordable when compared to many other places primarily on the coasts. Below are some facts about the cost of living in Denver in 2020 with data provided by Nerdwallet. One of the most important factors when determining where to live is the average salary of residents in a given city. Some quick facts: 

  • The average salary for people who live in Denver is approximately $47,499 per household.
  • Per person, the average salary is actually $32,051. For comparison the average income per capita nationwide is $27,915.
  • Out of 268 total cities, this makes Denver the 40th most expensive place to live. 

Housing costs is another essential thing to consider when looking at the cost of living in Denver.

  • The average cost of a 2-bedroom apartment in Denver is $1,538. This number puts it at the 12th most expensive city nationwide.
  • Buying a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house will cost $501,929.
  • Utilities in Denver will run a household $139 per month. 

Staying healthy is another essential consideration when looking at the cost of living.

  • In Denver, a doctor's visit will average about $125.43.
  • A trip to the dentist will cost $105.11.
  • Seeing the optometrist will cost $102.57. 

Then of course you'll need to consider all of the extraneous costs that come with the basics of living.

  • Gas costs roughly $2.60 per gallon in Denver.
  • The cost of taking the train is actually the second most in the country....

Warranty of Habitability Laws for Investment Property Owners - What You Need to Know

Being a landlord can be a difficult job. When you’re a landlord, there are several things to know to ensure you comply with the law. One of the many laws that you need to be aware of is known as warranty of habitability. We spoke to local Denver attorney Kyle Bachus of Bachus & Schanker about everything landlords should know about this essential law for property owners. 


What Is the Warranty of Habitability?

The warranty of habitability states that a landlord must provide a tenant with a place that’s fit to be occupied. In other words, a rented property must meet minimally acceptable standards. There cannot be a condition on the property that endangers the life, health, or safety of the tenant. The warranty of habitability is a law that requires the landlord to keep their property in acceptable condition for the tenant.


Colorado Warranty of Habitability Laws

The Colorado warranty of habitability law is the stated in Residential Tenants Health and Safety Act, Colorado Revised Statutes 38-12-503, and Colorado House Bill 1170. The law requires landlords to guarantee that a property is a fit place to occupy. The warranty of habitability is implied between every landlord and tenant. The Colorado warranty of habitability law requires the property owner to fix any dangers to life and safety...

Trust Deed Investing: Enforcing The Loan

While it’s true that investing in trust deeds is relatively safe compared with other investments, there is always the small chance that a borrower will default on his loan for one reason or another. Should such a situation arise there are ways in which the investor can resolve the matter and still come out on top. The process of foreclosure is the usual method of recovering property when a borrower cannot honor the terms of the loan. different states may have different policies and legal procedures regarding foreclosure so the following information may not apply specifically to you.

Judicial and non-judicial foreclosure are the two most popular methods used in trust deed investments. The judicial foreclosure will require a lawyer and court proceedings and will be expensive. A non-judicial foreclosure is quick and relatively painless financially since it can be handled by a title company or reputable, independent foreclusre company. This method or process of foreclosure is the one most used for trust deeds.

the foreclosure officer will need certain documents from the investor before the process can begin. for example, the original trust deed that has been recorded and original note. A statement as to the amount of the loan still owed, the due date of payments, unpaid balance of the principal and how much of the interest has beenpaid to date will also be required. Once these documents have been turned over tot he agent he can then begin the foreclosure process.

A foreclosure can be instituted for a number of reasons and not all of them are financial. A borrower who fails to honor the provisions of the trust deed, though he may have made payments on time could still find himself in foreclosure for violating the terms of the trust deed. and of course any failure to make payments in full and on time, or to default...

Investing In construction Loans

There are several kinds of construction loans for an investor and we will lay them out for you here.

The Improvement And Renovation Construction Loan pertains to making upgrades or improving the property in some way in order to raise the value.

A Grounds Up construction Loan is granted based on the assumption that the borrower has already secured the necessary permits and has drawn up plans that have been approved. The only thing left presumably, is the funding. The loan money can be drawn out over time if the lender approves.

Infrastructure Construction Loans are help the borrower to complete projects that need to be done before the actual building can begin. For example, the installation of utilities and water and sewer pipes, streets and so forth.

Construction loans have special requirements that must be met in order for everything to go according to plan. We will now consider these aspects.

The lender’s investment needs to be protected. therefore it is very important that inspections take place often during building. Plans are looked over again and again and kept consistently so that it can be ascertained the funding is sufficient for the project to be completed.

The construction company can maintain control and account for all funds spent from the beginning to the end with this kind of documentation. An in-house inspector prepares inspection reports of his findings from visiting the building site. The report indicates which projects are finished and which are still being constructed.

A preliminary lien notice is a requirement of most states where a construction loan is involved. The subcontractor sends a copy of this notice to the owner, lender and general contractor so that he can now lien a project. All parties involved are asked to send copies of their notices to the construction...

Trust Deed: Notes

The trust deed and note are the required documents whether you are using real property to secure the money you loan, or you are investing in a deed of trust. The trust deed becomes a lien on the property, securing the repayment of the money that is owed according to the stipulations in the note. The note shows the initial money owed and details the conditions for repayment of the trust deed.

All notes have the same purpose with the same end result, but there are several types of notes that you can obtain.

The note most often used is a promissory note. The borrower details in writing how much he will pay back, when he will pay and to whom, at a given date in the future.

In transactions involving real estate, the amortized note is used most often and stipulates that the borrower make payments every month of interest and principal for the duration of the loan.

A holder in due course note refers to someone who bought the not for value but was unaware of any problems or issues concerning the note when it was first purchased. The law protects the person who holds this note because it is assumed he is holding the negotiable note in good faith.

The straight interest only note is one in which no principal payments are made for the duration of the loan. The interest payments occur monthly and are negotiable.

Use extreme caution with the recourse note. The endorser agrees to give payments to all holders involved. A person could recourse a note so all payments go to just one person and nobody else so as an endorser you should think twice before using this note. The payment liability is very broad.

A note without recourse gives no guarantee of payments to future holders.

The demand note isn’t used often and only when payment is required in full at any given time.

Some notes contain an “or more”...

Trust Deed Investing Pitfalls

As with any investment you may get involved with, it is always a good practice to do your research so you completely understand what is involved in the process.  This is true for trust deed investments as well, even though they are among the safest ways to invest your money.  Although miniscule, some risks exist, so proceed with caution.  Here are some tips to keep in mind as you negotiate any transactions.

Don’t take the word of anyone else about the state and condition of any property in which you plan to invest.  Do your due diligence and check out the property on your own.  This way you can compare your own opinions with those of any appraisers, brokers or title companies.

Research the value of recently closed sales of comparable properties in the area, so you will have an idea of what the investment property is worth.  Review any existing appraisals and see if you agree with their findings or if you perhaps need another appraisal.

Make sure you are able to determine the difference between real property and personal property with regard to your investment.  Although real property is usually anchored to the ground in a permanent manner, some items fitting that description may be considered personal.  Know the difference!

Find out as much as you can about the borrower.  Know how the loan will be repaid.

Pay attention to loan to value ratios (LVT) and heed the recommended lending percentages.  If the owner lives in the home, the LVT should be under 60 percent; if the home is vacant or non-owner occupied, the LVT should be under 50 percent.

Make sure any promises of future improvements or renovations have been written down, if that is a consideration for the value of the loan.  In addition, ask yourself if you will want or require any other types of paperwork...

How Trust Deed Escrow Works

You’ve come this far, and you’re almost done.  However, just like when you personally buy a house, funding a loan or purchasing a promissory note has to be completed through an escrow process. This impartial third party acts as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller, or in this case, the lender and the borrower.  The escrow agent will oversee the entire transaction and handle everything according to the contractual obligations.

As with all transactions, and before any money changes hands, the escrow agent needs to ensure that any loose ends are tied up so the transaction can be completed without problems.  Some of these issues may be the payment of any delinquent taxes, the removal of any liens, the selection of any required title insurance, and all of the details pertaining to the deed of trust or promissory note.  Each trust deed is different, so the conditions may vary from transaction to transaction.

Escrows for trust deeds will have specific instructions about the transfer of the land investment.  It is critical that every detail is in writing, even any commitments or promises that were made casually during informal negotiations. The information is very straightforward and parallels what is required for other real estate transfers, including the names and titles of both the buyer and the seller, a description of the property and the negotiated price, as well as how any taxes, insurance and other costs might be divided among the parties. Your escrow agent will review all of the necessary details, but as the investor, it is incumbent upon you to read all of the paperwork carefully, making sure you understand every detail.  Check that everything has been included and nothing omitted.  If there is something you don’t understand or seems unclear, ask your escrow agent for an explanation. ...

Borrowers With Special Needs

In the last installment we talked about the circumstances of the “typical” borrower—who he is and what he needs. But there are other typical borrowers who have special circumstances that create the need for a “hard money” or private money loan. When more people can secure loans, the number of trust deed investment opportunities rises.

Death, taxes, severe illness, unemployment and divorce are some of the most common unforeseen occurrences that can derail an otherwise responsible person and ruin his chances to obtain a traditional bank loan. Therefore, non-institutionalized lenders with more options and the freedom to include other criteria besides a FICO score are an attractive alternative.

What are some of the situations and circumstances of these borrowers?

Poor credit rating– In the times we live it’s not uncommon to find that most people are being left out due to imperfect credit. Any number of reasons including the aforementioned and more can be the culprit. Most people don’t actively engage in willful behavior that ruins their credit. However, once a borrower’s credit score takes a nosedive, his ability to buy anything on time becomes greatly impaired—even if his unfortunate situation has been resolved.

Bankruptcy– Obviously this one is serious and once a borrower has filed for bankruptcy it will be a long, long time before he can qualify for a bank loan again—if ever.

Irrevocable Trust—Once a trust is set up, it cannot be revoked without the consent of the beneficiary in most cases.

Tax and other leans—Estate, federal and state tax liens, property taxes and other judgments can work great hardship on a borrower.

Foreclosure—Nothing hurts a credit score more than a previous foreclosure...

Trust Deeds: Private Money Lending

Private money lending is a non-institutionalized, short-term real estate funding opportunity that uses the protective equity of the property as collateral for the loan.

There are a number of professional companies that specialize in providing loans that may not be available through traditional lenders. In other words, they obtain money from a variety of sources for trust deed investments. Sometimes the funds for “hard money lending” as it is sometimes called come from individual investors. Other times the money is obtained through hedge funds, IRAs, trusts, pension plans and REITs among others.

Borrowers who fail to qualify for the guidelines of a conventional loan from a bank require private money lending. Although an investor’s credit and income may be sufficient according to traditional guidelines, the classification of a trust deed loan as “sub prime” prevents the lender from granting the loan. Thus private money lending provides an attractive and reasonable solution with more lending options.

Companies who handle the specific needs of a private loan solicit, underwrite, process and fund private money lending and are safe and reliable. Naturally you would be wise to choose a company with a sterling reputation, possibly recommended by other investors.

Not all lenders will offer the same services but all understand the complexities of a trust deed transaction and creative financing. In general they provide underwritten, direct loans for borrowers. Therefore, they fund the loan internally after assessing the risks personally, instead of outsourcing to retrieve information. In this manner the terms of the loan can be adjusted accordingly and the loan granted within hours instead of days or weeks once the application has been submitted.

Private money lending companies offer unique opportunities for investors. The...

Trust Deeds: A Wise Investment

Investors have a variety of options from which they can choose to invest and grow their money. Each one carries its own risks, game plan and category. From the stock market to deeds of trust and savings bonds, investors can decide where they will put their seed money based on what risks they want to take and how well they can plan a strategy. With so many choices and with the uncertain economy, how can investors decide which avenue will ensure the safest and most profitable outcome?

Every investment venture has a degree of risk and yet trust deeds are shown to be the safest of all investments today. Why? Because a trust deed loan is secured by something tangible—acreage, houses and other valuable buildings.

Another appealing advantage of the trust deed investment is the higher rate of return. Private lenders are not constrained by the same set of rules a banking institution imposes. Therefore, loans are more flexible and granted more quickly with less hassle because the private lender has a broader criterion with which to work.

Going one step further, trust deed investments are appealing because the borrower has a great deal to lose if he defaults on the loan. His home and land could be taken away, which is incentive to do whatever it takes to make sure he keeps up with the payments.

The loan to value ratio will be higher if proper research has been done because the actual amount of the loan will be greater than the real value of the property.

Why invest in trust deeds? Like most people, you’re probably looking forward to retirement. To that end you will need to invest in a venture that enables you to take care of yourself and your loved ones when working is no longer desirable. Those who have invested for retirement concur that trust deeds are the most profitable.

At an earned interest rate of 10% compared with the 2-4% of...

Trust Deed Investing Introduction

Trust Deed Investments can provide substantial returns with minimal risk.  Investors have two options available to them for investing in trust deeds, purchasing an existing promissory note or making a loan directly.  While similar in function to traditional mortgages, the main distinction between the two types of investments is that trust deeds involve three different parties—the lender, the borrower, and the trustee.  The person who is appointed the trustee operates as an independent entity to hold the legal title to a property on the lender’s behalf until the borrower has completely paid off the loan, but if a default were to occur, the lender can take ownership of the property.

Although double-digit returns on trust deed investments that mortgage brokers present may sound tempting, you should still be wary.  Investors should thoroughly research a property’s title status and market value before investing in a potential trust deed based solely on the promise of a high return.  Investors can start their research by acquiring a Preliminary Title Report from the past ninety days and making sure that the property doesn’t have anything that could affect the property’s market value.  As with any investment you should conduct your own due diligence.  Some things to consider while doing your research are:  Does the property have inexplicable encumbrances?  Unsettled legal concerns?  Is there a considerable variation between the appraised value and the assessed value?

Since the FDIC and other government agencies don’t insure trust deed investments, they are vulnerable to borrower default and the ups and downs of the economy; an investor could lose some or all of an investment.  If a borrower were to file for bankruptcy, the foreclosure process could be affected, resulting in a lengthy process, all at the cost of...

Denver Remains in the Top 4 Cities Nationwide for Home Resale Appreciation

Denver Appreciation


According to the hottest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices report, Metro Denver continues to be one of the top 4 leading U.S. markets for year-over-year home prices.

The region saw an increase in sales costs of 8.2 percent in April from last year, subsequent annual profits of 8.4 percent in March and 8.5 percent in February.

The 20-city typical gain in the year end in April has been 5.7 percent, along with the national average of 5.5 percent.

As for monthly resale increases, Denver saw a 1.3 percent gain in April relative to the previous month, not seasonally adjusted, the same for March. The 20 average monthly increase as well as the overally nationan-wide gain were 0.9 percent.

Denver's Case-Shiller housing price index in April climbed to an all-time record of 196.69. That usually means that local house resale prices soared 96.69 percent greater than they had been at the benchmark month of January 2000.

Nationally, average home-resale costs hit a record high for the 5th consecutive month the new report stated.

The Case-Shiller index is compiled by comparing matched-price pairs for thousands of single-family homes in each market. This report used numbers from metro Denver covering a 10-county area: Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson and Park counties.


10 Great Reasons to Live in Denver

There are dozens of great reasons to live in Denver. Possibly even hundreds. Maybe thousands. But instead of listing every single fantastic thing about this city, we’re going to provide you with a list of 10. Why? Because we don’t want to give away all of the amazing secrets about living here.

1. The weather is great.

Denver is in Colorado, and this state can get quite a bit of snow each year. But anyone who has lived in Denver for a year or longer knows that a snow storm and bitterly cold weather during the wintertime is usually followed by warmer weather and melting snow and ice within a couple of days. It’s not uncommon to experience pleasant and sunny days throughout the entire winter season. Summers can bring very warm temperatures, but with the low humidity in Denver, nights are cool and comfortable.

2. The Colorado mountains.

Whether you like to ski, hike, or bike, the mountains in Colorado are just a short drive away. Living in Denver provides you with the opportunity to reside in a major metropolitan area but to live close enough to the mountains so that you can easily get away from the hustle and bustle associated with city living.

3. The city, state, and national parks.

The City of Denver has many fantastic parks that are maintained by the Denver Parks and Recreation system. Also scattered throughout Colorado are several amazing state parks, national parks, and monuments such as Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument.

4. The restaurants.

Denver is known as one of the greatest cities for upscale neighborhood restaurants and bars. Some of the most popular and well-known eateries include Root Down, Linger, Sushi Den, and The Cherry Cricket.

5. The cultural facilities.

If you are looking for a museum, theatrical performance, or other cultural attraction, Denver is the place to be. A few of the most notable attractions in Denver include the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and...

Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit for more tips.