One more thing before we discuss the tandem house.
Once we graduated in May 2014 we moved back into the Wyandot House. It was nice to be done with school; both have jobs and getting income. We had fun entertaining friends and family, hosting dinner and having bbq’s and simply enjoying the house. We built a fence to close in the backyard, painted a handful of rooms, did a lot of yard work and re-surfaced the front porch.
And although we were enjoying living and taking care of our home, our minds were getting a little restless since not much can keep you as busy as graduate school. Our dinner conversations began centering on the opportunities and scenarios surrounding the Wyandot House, the goals we had as a couple, and the short-term decisions that would need to be made in order to pay student loans when they came due in the next few months. We concluded that although we enjoyed the house and the neighborhood, the smartest thing to do was either sell the house and take advantage of offers we were getting from developers or rent it out and reap the benefits of unprecedented rental rates in Denver.
We decided we would rent the house again. It would be a win-win situation for us to get rental income; enough to pay the mortgage and cover our monthly student loan payments. Plus, we still got to dream about the potentials of what we could eventually do with the house/lot when the time came. The only problem now was that we had nowhere else to live. Our solution: Buy another house.
Given everything we knew about zoning in Denver, the ongoing build-out of transit lines and designated “areas of change” we knew we were looking for an investment. We didn’t need to find our “forever” home. Instead, our criteria were to find a place that would gain value while we were there, would be an easy commute to work and a house that would be comfortable enough to live in even if we chose not to do anything to it. To our real estate agent, we were not the typical clients with a laundry list of must-haves in a home (i.e. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, garage, etc.). Instead, we told our agent the neighborhoods we were interested in based off of the highest expected year-over-year growth rate, being near new/expected transit stations, near new development, oh and… it had to be a lot zoned for two units. Easy right?
Not so easy, in fact. The reality was that Denver’s housing inventory was low because during the recession (2008-2011) no houses were being built. On top of that, it was 2014 and Denver was experiencing an oil and tech boom. There has been unprecedented population growth in the past few years and all those people moving to Denver were, and still are, looking to buy a home. On top of that, it was hard for first-time homebuyers to get financing contrary to developers that have cash and the incentive to build. The result, high demand for whatever was out there. In a matter of days on the market, houses had multiple offers and were being sold for well over asking price. We didn’t know how bad it was until we started looking. Our dilemma was that there was little on the market in our price range, so much so, that we would go weeks without seeing anything new on the market. To be honest we were a little discouraged. It was September now and our goal was to rent the Wyandot House by November. The timing was getting tight.
Our thoughts were definitely stuck on house searching and checking the MLS (real estate website) on an hourly basis it seemed. But come to find out Scott’s mind was focused on something else. We had scheduled a weekend getaway to Telluride to celebrate being done with school, or so I thought. Much to my surprise, he ended up proposing while horseback riding with Roudy (highly recommended)! That was an adventure, to say the least. It was an amazing escape to the mountains and when we came back we were so happy and even more motivated to buy a new house together.
However, reality set in, we realized we were going to have to pay for a wedding! On top of that, we were still not having any luck in our house search. I remember the night we had a conversation and decided that we were being too ambitious to buy a new home and that we had it pretty good at the Wyandot House the way things were. We decided that it was best for us to stay put and enjoy our engagement, the timing just wasn’t right….
Or was it?…..
A few days later Scott sent me a listing for a home in West Colfax, a neighborhood in Denver that was at the top of our search list.
The house had been listed that morning and we knew we had to get over and take a look. Why were we so excited before we even saw it? It was zoned two-unit, was across the street from a new light rail station and near the new St. Anthony’s redevelopment. It met all the criteria we were looking for and more. So when we walked into the house we barely needed to look around before we knew we had to put down an offer. We did. And although it wasn’t an easy process (almost losing the house to a developer’s all-cash offer) we got the house!
Within two weeks we had the Wyandot House rented and moved into the new place in time to hand out candy on Halloween. It’s hard to believe we now own two homes zoned two-unit. At the time we didn’t know for sure if we would do anything with it but we knew one thing, that the homes we had were good investments and they gave us options.