House Hunt — Part I


If Ben and I were on House Hunters, the show would start with a scene that is as Denver as humanly possible: We’d be running in City Park and then we’d pop open some microbrews and a big bag of weed and start talking about our must-haves.

Here’s what we wanted:

  • a place for my mom1 (preferably a basement with a nice, non-basementy bedroom and bathroom to have some separation)
  • to be comfortably within the boundaries of East High School (and preferably good elementary and middle schools, although it’s possible to choice in somewhere else if desired)
  • an old house with character (absolutely no new construction)
  • a garage or some kind of off-street parking
  • 4-ish bedrooms
  • 2-ish bathrooms
  • a nice yard (preferably fenced in back) with room for chickens, dogs, a vegetable garden, and some xeriscaping
  • hardwood floors and no (or very little) carpet
  • an open-concept floor plan for entertaining, granite counters, and stainless appliances (Just kidding!!!)
  • actually we like a living room/dining room/kitchen setup that flows well but isn’t just one big open room
  • and dislike granite counters and stainless appliances (but realized it’s nearly impossible to find the type of house we wanted without them)
  • evaporative coolers
  • a roof that would work for solar panels

And here’s where we wanted it:

  • South City Park
  • South or North Park Hill (west of Monaco)
  • Congress Park
  • San Rafael (a small area of Five Points)

Budget = somewhere in the $400,000 to $650,000 range. Unfortunately, we were looking at the height of the seller-iest sellers’ market I’ve ever experienced, where most houses in our desired neighborhoods receive multiple offers and sell above list price.

(Also, let me say that I feel kind of gross talking about prices but there’s no point omitting them because anybody with even a small, recreational house obsession can find out this information in approximately half of a second.)

We’ll start with two houses we toured but did not seriously consider (all photos and descriptions were tackily yanked from the internet and are unedited; you can click on most of the photos to see a larger version — a few are just small).

Vine Street: $600,000, 6 beds, 3 baths, house: 5,160 sq. ft., lot: 7,405 sq. ft., City Park West

Take a walk back in time in this stunning Lang Mansion built in 1890 in it’s original grandeur & beauty! The unique architectural features, in the woodwork, the built-ins, stained glass, and the vastness of this amazing flowing floor plan with 3 floors above ground are jaw dropping. And it really is untouched in the last 125 years! The striking wrap around front porch, quarter sawed oak doors, gorgeous staircase surrounded by original stained windows, and the openness of this Old House…. Located near Capitol Hill & Congress Park possibilities are endless with over 5000 sq ft. This home is sold ‘As-Is’.

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Saying this house is amazing is an understatement. It’s a work of art. Unfortunately, it needs lots and lots and lots of work and is way too big for us. It’s also next to a checks cashed/money orders place and has a tiny yard and no parking.

This house has been removed from the market but as far as I can tell it didn’t sell.

Forest Street: $650,000, 3 beds, 3 baths, house: 3,091 sq. ft., lot: 6,250 sq. ft., South Park Hill

Charming Craftsman Bungalow on a great block of large vintage properties and newly-built, too! New carpet throughout 2nd floor and staircase. Original front windows with multi-pane top lites, beautiful original fireplace and leaded glass French door to the study. Updated kitchen has granite counters and Maple cabinets plus a built-in desk. The split staircase connects to a rarity – a main floor powder bath! A breakfast room and laundry connect to the back yard. Nicely landscaped with mature trees, roses, and irrigation. Flagstone patio and raised deck are ideal for entertaining. 2nd floor has master suite with en suite bath and walk-in closet plus two additional bedrooms and another full bath. A covered veranda overlooks the back yard. The basement has a large family room with fireplace and egress window. A hobby/workshop and additional flex space, plus storage and mechanical complete the basement. Walk to Spinelli’s Market, library and Park Hill School. Transit at 23rd.

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This house is beautiful! Unfortunately, when we saw it there was already an offer. The only other downsides of this house were (1) too much carpet and (2) too expensive. Although it was in our original price range, we realized we weren’t comfortable spending that much. Also, having some newly built houses on the block makes me nervous.

Sold for: The original deal fell through. The house went back on the market and sold for $642,000.

Up next: The one that got away!

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Note
1. New developments (I’m hesitant to share too many details out of respect for my mom) have solidified the fact that it would not be a good idea for my mom to live with us right now, but we can reevaluate in the future.