Finding Your New Neighborhood in Denver

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a home is the neighborhood and community where your new house is located. In Denver, with over 78 official neighborhoods to choose from, you want to think long and hard about how your lifestyle impacts your wish list. Here are some things to consider when looking at different neighborhoods in the Denver area.

Urban vs. Suburban

Denver is a unique city in that it offers both urban and suburban style living for people in all walks of life. While 20-something singles and young couples may prioritize walking distance to hot spots over square footage and outdoor space, the same can be said for older buyers looking for quiet, compact living near coffee shops, boutiques and museums. Densely populated Capital Hill, for example, offers urban living in older homes with close proximity to neighborhood businesses, while buzzing LoDo and the Riverfront area boasts high-end condos and lofts minutes from top restaurants, bars and professional sports venues. Not interested in city life? Venture a few miles outside of the city center and discover neighborhoods perfect for growing families and pet lovers such as Sloan Lake or Lowry.

Your Daily Commute

Hate sitting in traffic? With a job that currently requires hefty commute, consider an area that will reduce your driving time to work or eliminate it all together. Neighborhoods such as Parker, Highlands Ranch or Westminster may not offer all of the exciting amenities you want within walking distance, but close proximity to career supercenters like the Denver Tech Center or Boulder will help you save time and money wasted in rush hour traffic. If you once opted for a longer commute in exchange for a spacious home and yard, maybe it’s time to rethink a smaller home in the Highlands, City Park or Glendale that will cut your commute and give you more time to spend in a house you love.

Outdoor Activities

As one of the fittest and most active cities in the US, Denver offers ample opportunities for outdoor active living. All outdoor opportunities are not created equally, however, and some things to consider are local open spaces, nearby parks, proximity to trails and access to the mountains. A neighborhood like Washington Park, for example, is great for runners, cyclists and families with kids who want access to a large public area with lots to do. Solo adventurers and weekend warriors might prefer an area like Littleton… less densely populated with rolling trails and immediate access to I-70 for excursions to the mountains for hiking or skiing.

New vs. Old Construction

Denver offers one of the most interesting mixes of new vs. old construction in the country, with newly revitalized older neighborhoods, small town style modern living and everything in between. Checkout LoHi, for example, where you can find a Victorian-style home built in the 1920’s right next door to a newly constructed, modern loft. If you’re looking for character, charm and a little bit of history a great place to search would be Capitol Hill or City Park. Opt for green living opportunities, trendy designs and clean-cut community landscaping in Stapleton or Uptown.

It’s easy to say location is king, but really take a moment to think about exactly what you want from your community and you’ll find not only a house that you love but a neighborhood that fits your personality and lifestyle. If you’re in the market for a house or know someone who is, contact me today and ask how I can help you find your the home (and the neighborhood) of your dreams.

Understanding County Assessed Property Taxes

Property Tax Calculations
Calculation of Property Taxes

This is the explanation from Douglas County and each county has a bit of variation, but the below description can give you an idea of how counties calculate property taxes. To find you specific county information on how they calculate taxes visit your local county website. 

Statute provides that the actual value of property is not the taxable value. Rather, the taxable value is a percentage of the actual value. The percentage is called an “assessment rate,” and the resulting value is called the “assessed value.” The assessment rate is 29 percent for all properties except residential. The residential assessment rate is established by the legislature every odd­numbered year. It has remained at 7.96 percent since 2007. The intent of having the ability to change the residential assessment rate is to maintain the tax burden balance between residential properties and all other property types.

Your property taxes are calculated by multiplying the mill levy or tax rate by the assessed or taxable value of your property.


The actual value of Mr. Brown’s home is $300,000. The Notice of Valuation shows the current assessment percentage is 7.96 percent.

Actual Value x Assessment Percentage = Assessed Value
$ 300,000 Actual Value x 7.96% Assessment Percentage = $ 23,880 Assessed Value

To determine the property tax, multiply the assessed value times the decimal equivalent of the total mill levy. A mill is equal to 1/1000 of a dollar. A tax rate is the mill levy expressed as a percentage. Thus 98.42 mills = 9.842 percent or .09842 as the decimal equivalent.

If Mr. Brown’s assessed value is $23,880, his taxes will be:
Assessed Value x Mill Levy = Taxes
$ 23,880 Assessed Value x .09842 Mill Levy = $ 2,350.27 Taxes

6 Valuable Upgrades that Buyers Love

Springtime will be here before we know it, and that means the real estate market will be picking up. If you are planning on putting your house up for sale, you may be wondering which areas of your house you can make improvements in and which improvements are the most valuable. The best upgrades for a home are elements that not only help to catch a buyer’s attention, but give give an added touch of character. Here are 6 great ideas that buyers love and will give you the best return on your investment.

1. Add a Little Space

No one wants to walk into a dark and cramped house. One way that you can liven up a house is to knock down a wall and create an open floor plan, which opens up opportunities to bring people to together. Whether it’s for entertaining or supervising the kids while cooking, open spaces invite people to connect and help buyers to see themselves in your home.

2. Curb Appeal

When you think back to the first time that you saw your house, what was your first impression? A well maintained yard, a fresh paint job and minor repairs will help to give a great first impression for buyers that visit your home and set the tone for the rest of the showing.

4. Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

The kitchen is the centerpiece of a living space, an area that everyone gravitates to. Upgrades in the kitchen, whether they are minor or major, usually have an excellent return for homeowners. Upgrade your kitchen by adding a new backsplash, countertop or cabinetry. Modern kitchens with updated appliances are a major wish list item for most buyers.

Give your kitchen a makeover.

Give your kitchen a makeover with some ideas from Pinterest.

5. Remodeling or Finishing Your Basement

Too often basements are used as a place to store junk or just wasted space. If your basement is under-utilized, consider a remodel to create a welcoming space that adds to the character and value of your home. Some popular ideas are to build a bar, entertainment area or “man cave”.

7. Energy Savers

These days, efficiency is becoming more and more important to the average buyer. In addition to the standard energy efficient features in your home, add something that will not only help the buyer save money in the long run, but reduce their carbon footprint. Replacing windows, adding dimmers to your lights, buying energy efficient appliances or installing insulation to your attic are just a few ways that you can accomplish this.

All in all, when you’re ready to put your house on the market, put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer. With these ideas you can make some major improvements in a short time, and soon enough you’ll have a beautiful home that gives you a great return on your investment and a happy buyer who’s excited to move in.


For more ideas on how to get your house ready to sell this Spring, give me a call or visit my Pinterest page for inspiration.

February Newsletter

February 2014
Happy February!
As you probably experienced, the Superbowl was pretty hard to watch, but we are still proud of our Broncos and their great season!
On a brighter note, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Make it a special one with your loved ones this year! In fact take a peak at the WIFM (Whats in-it for me?) as there is a great offer for friends and loved ones!
This February Enewsletter is PACKED with the following GREAT topics:
  • BIGGEST Home Seller Mistakes
  • Top Kitchen Renovation Trends
  • Downtown Denver Residential BOOM
  • Market Numbers and Hottest Zip Codes
  • Mortgage Rates Fall
  • 2014 Tax Benefits for Home Owners!
Check out below for all that and more!

Gatsby’s in LoDo combines the opulence of downtown chic with the swagger of a back alley speakeasy, as the most stylish new addition to Denver’s nightlife scene. Featuring a fantastic Happy Hour loaded with specialty wines, martini’s, craft cocktails, and gourmet bites to satisfy the most discerning of appetites. The lounge style seating is assured to keep you as comfortable as you are in your own living room, and our private loft area is available to reserve for occasions to be remembered for years to come. The cornerstone of Gatsby’s is it’s service team, who will welcome you into our family whether you are just stopping in for a quick drink, or are lounging the night away with us. Gatsby’s is a sophisticated modern day speakeasy, the type of place you can’t help but return to again and again.


Gatsby’s is proud to partner with Madison & Company Properties to offer you a special romance package anytime during the month of February. For the entire month when purchasing dinner for two you will receive a complementary glass of champagne accompanied by an order of hand dipped chocolate strawberries to compliment your meal. This offer is open exclusively to Madison & Company Properties email members. Please present this email to your server when ordering. All February long is romance month with Gatsby’s and Madison & Company Properties.

As always, let me know if YOU have any questions! I am always here to help and serve you!


Top Kitchen Renovation Trends 
You Should Know About!  

Kitchens are the new family rooms. It’s no wonder why buyers put so much stock in what a kitchen looks like. And it’s also no wonder why homes with the best kitchens sell for TOP dollar!

Here are the top trends happening in the kitchen:

1) White cabinetry

Beautiful and timeless, white cabinets are a versatile choice for any kitchen. One attraction of white cabinetry is that it works with multiple architectural styles — from traditional to country chic to contemporary. White cabinetry opens a room to a number of decor choices and color palettes that have no boundaries and turns the kitchen into a backdrop that can be embellished as much or as little as you’d like.

2) Stainless steel appliances bring a sophisticated and rich feel to the kitchen and work with a variety of styles. The sleek silver lines bring a polished look to refrigerators, stoves, and even trash compactors and waste bins. And no more worrying about fingerprints smudging the surface of stainless. Manufacturers offer fingerprint-resistant steel that eliminates this issue.

3) Work Zones

Specialty workstations are cropping up inkitchens across the country and range from elaborate to utilitarian. Popular examples include baking centers, coffee bars, wine-tasting nooks, and pizza-making stations.

4) Walk-In Pantries

A walk-in pantry is the perfect solution for families who require must-have kitchenitems in quantity. All necessities — snacks, canned goods, baking supplies, and even surplus goods such as paper towels and aluminum foil — are hidden behind closed doors. Space for items used on a daily basis, such as silverware, dishes, glassware, and cooking gadgets, is reserved for kitchen drawers and cupboards.
5) Save and Splurge Strategy.  Kitchen island or farmhouse sink? Professional range or granite countertops? By choosing to splurge on one item versus another, consumers are sticking to their remodeling budgets and saving money. This mentality has always been considered by remodelers, but when the state of the economy is shaky, this trend rises to top of mind.
6) Technology in the Kitchen. As people become increasingly tech-savvy,kitchens and bathrooms are being accessorized with electronics rather than traditional decor. Popular electronic items, such as wall-mount televisions, sound systems, and computers, are showing up in all rooms of the home. Another hot trend is making the home “wireless.”
7) Granite and Quartz Countertops. Granite is still super popular among home buyers, but Quartz is a rising star, resistant to stains and scratches,easy to clean, and cheaper than granite.

8) Integrated Appliances. Refrigerators have become ever larger, but new technology and techniques make them virtually invisible — a big leap forward in built-in refrigeration. The same is true for dishwashers. Cabinetry panels discreetly hide these appliances, allowing the room’s
style to take center stage.
9) Layered Kitchen Lighting. Many functional and comfortable kitchens have a layered lighting approach. A series of recessed fixtures provide ambient light. Chandeliers and pendants are popular products for task lighting over an island or seating area. Accent lighting above and below cabin

increasingly popular. Countertops can be made from recycled glass, as well as other countertop materials. Eco-friendly cabinetry, made from bamboo or wheatboard, are often manufactured with low- or no-formaldehyde glues, which protect the home’s indoor air quality.  Water-conserving faucets and Energy Star-rated appliances help homeowners save money on energy bills and reduce the use of natural resources.ets — or in a glass-front cabinet — highlight special areas of the kitchen. Having a variety of lighting options lets you instantly convert your kitchen from a functional work space to an intimate dining space. Now light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are available for the home. These low-voltage lamps consume less than half as much electricity as fluorescents, and can last 10 times as long. One of the most practical uses for LEDs right now is in undercabinet lighting.

Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) improved for the fifth straight week last week, helping to send U.S. mortgage rates to their lowest levels in more than 11 weeks.The streak has been a welcome surprise. Wall Street widely expected mortgage rates to rise in 2014. Through the year’s first month, though, Wall Street has been wrong.

Mortgage rates have dropped slowly and steadily since the start of the year. Pricing is the best it’s been since Thanksgiving.

Is Your Lender Quoting You Higher Than 4.32 Percent?

Freddie Mac puts the 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.32 percent. However, not all U.S. borrowers are getting access to that rate. There are several reasons why.

The first reason is that Freddie Mac’s published rate is meant for primary home-purchasing, prime borrowers only. This specifically excludes refinancing households and investors buying a second or vacation home; or a rental.

Homeowners applying for the HARP mortgage, for example, won’t get the same specific rate as a move-up buyer with great credit.

Another reason why your rate may exceed 4.32% is that discount points are optional, and you may be choosing to pay no points. In general, waiving discount points will raise your mortgage rate one-quarter percentage point.

And, lastly, your quoted rate may be higher because you’re applying for something other than conventional financing.

The Freddie Mac survey applies to backed by Freddie Mac (which remains closely linked to Fannie Mae). First-time buyers using the FHA’s 3.5 percent downpayment program; and military veterans using VA loans, as examples, won’t be seeing identical rates.

Jumbo mortgage rates vary from Freddie Mac rates, too.


Market Numbers for the end of 2013

The inventory of available homes for sale is 7,275 homes at year’s end were the following: 2,379 homes came onto the market, 2,807 homes were placed under contract, and 3,229 homes closed for a closed dollar volume of $1.0 Billion. The year ended December 31, 2013 was a year of records, continuous buyer demand, market frenzy, and upward interest rates.

Market Recap 

Residential (Single Family plus Condo):
Active Inventory is 7,275 homes at month end

Sold homes is 3,229

Average Days on Market is 57

Average Sold Price is $310,643

December Year-to-Date Market Recap (2013 versus 2012):

Residential (Single Family plus Condo):

Active Inventory 7,275 versus 7,706 (↓6%)

Sold Units 54,024 versus 46,299 (↑17%)

Average Price $306,910 versus $279,601 (↑10%)

Sales Volume $16.6B versus $12.9B (↑28%)

Hot Zip Codes:


Top 5 zip codes with Increases in Homes Sold 2012 vs. 2013

  1. 80215 – 54.2% increase in homes sold
  2. 80260 – 48.7% increase in homes sold
  3. 80021 – 46.4% increase in homes sold
  4. 80007 – 44.3% increase in homes sold
  5. 80018 – 42.1% increase in homes sold

Top 5 zip codes with Increases in Average Sold Price 2012 vs. 2013

  1. 80204 – 27.5% increase ($237,027 in 2013)
  2. 80010 – 26.1% increase ($136,295 in 2013)
  3. 80221 – 23.4% increase ($184,785 in 2013)
  4. 80231 – 23.1% increase ($436,969 in 2013)
  5. 80011 – 20.7% increase ($156,124 in 2013)

Top 5 zip codes with Decreases in Average Days on Market 2012 vs. 2013

  1. 80230 – 61.0% decrease (40.1 average days on market in 2013)
  2. 80122 – 55.8% decrease (34.1 average days on market in 2013)
  3. 80209 – 53.8% decrease (37.2 average days on market in 2013)
  4. 80033 – 53.7% decrease (38.7 average days on market in 2013)
  5. 80130 – 51.3% decrease (24.2 average days on market in 2013)
With rates falling a bit, more buyers will pursue homes this month!

Downtown Denver Residential Boom
Below are the recent residential developments that have happened downtown since September. 




























Since September 2013, ten projects (blue highlight) with a total of 1,580 units have finished construction, bringing the number of completed units within a 1.5-mile radius of 17th and Arapahoe since January 2012 to 2,982. Several of these projects, like Cadence, One City Block, 2828 Zuni, The Douglas, and Element 47 are so newly finished that the paint’s barely dry and, in some cases, minor construction is still going on as new tenants are moving in.

Four projects (green highlight) totaling 927 units have started construction since our September update, resulting in a total of 4,406 units currently under construction. AMLI Riverfront Park is almost finished and will be moving to the Completed column within a month or so.

Ten projects (purple highlight) with a total of 1,843 units are new to the Proposed category since September 2013, for a total of 2,952 units currently proposed. Some of these Proposed projects have not been covered-yet- on the DenverInfill Blog due to (a.) a lack of reliable information, (b.) their being in the early stages of development, or (c.) we just haven’t gotten around to it yet! Also, there are about a dozen more projects within the 1.5-mile radius that have recently been submitted to the city for review, but are not in the Proposed category because we are still researching either the exact location or the number of units.

Assuming all of the developments under construction will be completed, then a total of 7,388 new residential units will be added to Downtown Denver from January 2012 through mid-2015, without counting any on the Proposed list. That translates into roughly 11,000 new residents and approximately $1.5 billion of residential investment in Downtown Denver.

New For 2014, The Tax Benefits And Deductions Available To U.S. Homeowners

Tax season may feel like a burden for some Americans, but homeowners have plenty of advantages when it comes to claiming deductions.

The U.S. tax code is designed to offer incentives to homeowners, and by taking advantage of these breaks, 1040-filing citizens can maximize their financial investment in homeownership.

Whether a home is financed via a mortgage, or paid-in-full with cash, there are a multitude of tax-savings opportunities associated with owning a home. Of course, every homeowner’s financial situation is different, so please consult with a tax professional regarding your individual tax liability.

Tax Deduction : Mortgage Interest Paid

Mortgage interest paid to a lender is tax-deductible and, for some homeowners, interest paid ca provide a large tax break — especially in the early years of a home loan. This is because the standard mortgage amortization schedule is front-loaded with mortgage interest.

At today’s mortgage rates, annual interest payments on a 30-year loan term exceed annual principal payments until loan’s 10th year.

Mortgage interest tax deductions are extended to second mortgages, too.

Interest paid on refinances, home equity loans (HELOAN) and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are tax-deductible as well. However, restrictions apply on homeowners who raise their mortgage debt beyond their property’s fair market value.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposes a $1 million loan size cap. Loans for more than one million dollars are exempt from this tax deduction.

Tax Deduction : Discount Points

Mortgage tax deductions can extend beyond your monthly payment. Discount points paid in connection with a home purchase or a refinance are often tax-deductible, too.

A discount point is a one-time, at-closing fee which gets a borrower access to mortgage rates below current “market rates”.

As an example, if the current market mortgage rate is 5 percent, paying one discount point may get you access to a mortgage rate of 4.75%. The IRS treats discount points as “prepaid mortgage interest” which, in turn, can render them tax-deductible.

When discount points are paid in conjunction with a purchase, the cost may be deducted in full in the year in which they were paid, dollar-for-dollar. With respect to a refinance, discount points are not fully tax-deductible in the year in which they are paid.

With a refinance, discount points are typically amortized over the life of the loan.

The cost of one discount point on a 30-year loan can be deducted at 1/30 of its value per tax-calendar year.

Other Deductions : Property Taxes, Renovations, Home OfficeReal Estate Taxes

Homeowners typically pay real estate taxes to local and state entities. These property taxes can often be deducted in the year in which they are paid. If your mortgage lender currently escrows your taxes and insurance, it will send an annual statement to you which you can file with your complete federal tax returns. Your accountant can help determine the payment’s tax deductibility.

Home Improvements

For tax-paying homeowners, certain types of home improvement projects are tax-deductible. Home improvements made for medical reasons, for example, can be tax-deductible. If you are making home renovations to accommodate a chronically ill or disabled person, and the renovations do not add to the overall value of the home, the project costs are typically 100% tax deductible. Repairs and improvements made for aesthetic purposes are not tax-deductible.

Home Offices

Homeowners who work from their residence can typically deduct the expenses of maintaining a qualified home office. Allowable tax deductions for a home office include renovations to the room(s), telephone lines, and the cost of heat and electric. Before claiming a home office on your returns, though, be sure to speak with an accountant to understand the benefits and liabilities. There are caveats to claiming home office tax deductions on your tax returns, and the rules can be tricky.

Homeowners : Budget For Your Tax Breaks

Tax deductions will reduce your annual costs of homeownership and, for some homeowners, mortgage interest tax deductions will shift the answer to the “Should I Rent or Should I Buy?” question.

Tax law changes frequently, though. Consider building your housing budget with the help of a tax preparer. Get a feel for how much home you can afford before and after accounting for your various homeowner tax breaks. And, as you build your budget, use legitimate mortgage rates in your calculations.

-By Dan Green

Madison & Company Properties, LTD | 3209 Tejon Street | Denver | CO | 80211