Author Topic: How expensive is Denver, really?  (Read 968 times)

takemewest

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How expensive is Denver, really?
« on: March 04, 2018, 11:03:36 AM »
Some background: I think the last time I posted I had mentioned a dream job potential and dissatisfaction with my current job regarding some ethics/management issues. Luckily, much of that has died down, and I had an excellent yearly review. So, it looks like despite my management's treatment of me (and my refusing to give in to their unethical demands), I'll still have a job next year. Big weight off my shoulders. I was on the market in the fall but pulled out of a couple of searches because my spouse and I decided we really didn't want to leave the state (CO).

Now, a school in Denver is courting me a bit to see if I'd be interested in teaching there. Both mine and my spouse's salary would be much higher for our jobs in the Denver area, but I understand the COL to be insane. We live in an average cost of living area of CO that isn't near Denver, and now that we've both settled into our jobs here, we're finally at a place where we can save one of our entire salaries and enjoy a nice house on a big lot while also saving for retirement, trips, and fun. In short, I guess despite my issues with my job, it finally feels for the first time in a few years that we can breathe and slow down.

I don't want to lead this school on if I'm not really interested in moving, but I also am interested enough in the salary potential to learn more about what we'd be getting into.

So, I guess I'd love to hear from any Denver folks what it is really like to live there. We'd be making around $110k collectively, with an average raise of $3k each for every year after that. Assuming we could find a living arrangement for around $2000, we'd be able to save at the same rate we are now (although I haven't accounted yet for increase commuting costs, the very real soul-suck of likely living in suburbia since our jobs wouldn't be in Denver proper, etc.)

Can anyone who lives in that area offer perspective about costs? Rent? Buying a home? Commuting issues? Ease of access to outdoors now that so many people live there?

Thank you!

Cranky

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Re: How expensive is Denver, really?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 11:41:59 AM »
My dh grew up in Denver, and we still have lots of family there.

Denver is booming and I think that housing is ridiculously overpriced, but we chose not to move back (and sold the house our in-laws left us) because I am not willing to deal with that kind of traffic. That is a big quality of life issue for me, but may not be for other people. Denver has moderately good public transit, but again - it takes forever to get places IMO. And for what it's worth, I wouldn't live in Boulder again at this point, but lots of people love it.

If you want to do stuff in the mountains, you've got to drive there, and that was always a big disincentive for me, even when the traffic wasn't bad like it is now.

Denver is a huge sprawl because it has to spread along the mountains.

Other than housing, I don't think Denver is crazy expensive (and my standards for "expensive" are quite low.) I like Colorado in general, and it's very pretty, and I'd be willing to live someplace Not Denver/Boulder, and I include Longmont in that. And I'm not nuts about Colorado Springs, either, but that's politics more than anything else.

The weather is nice - cold, but lots of sunshine. There's a lot more flooding than there used to be, because it's so overdeveloped there, but the air quality is better than it used to be.

But if you're already living in Colorado, you should go look at some places in Denver and see what's around in your price range.

takemewest

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Re: How expensive is Denver, really?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2018, 01:15:35 PM »
Thanks for your perspective, Cranky. I was just there this weekend visiting the potential school and seeing the area. We certainly couldn't afford to live super close to my job, and even 20-30 minutes away, we'd likely have to downgrade from a nice house to an apartment to keep the savings/income ratio that we prefer intact. However, the  yearly salary increases mean that in probably 5-7 years, we'd be coming out ahead of where we are now (our current jobs have little salary growth potential aside from things like 2% COL raises---gotta love the public sector). So eventually we'd be able to save more OR choose to buy a house and upgrade our living situation.

But I was just floored by the sprawl, especially on the East side of Denver, where we'd likely be working. It seems like an awful task to try to enjoy the beauty of Colorado from that end of Denver, whereas where we live now allows us to be hiking within about a 15-minute drive.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: How expensive is Denver, really?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2018, 01:35:26 PM »
Yeah, I live on the east side of Denver. I am not sure what neighborhood you would be working in but the fringes are relatively more affordable.

I pay $1000 in rent for a decent 1BR (I don't have have my own washer and dryer, but the place is safe and usually clean). My ex lives in Stapleton--he has a 3BR townhouse with a one-car garage and a washer-dryer and pays right about your pay rate, $2K. If it's just the two of you, East Colfax also often has small single-family houses for sale that only have one bathroom and two or three bedrooms, so that would be worth looking into, too.

I have no quarrel with the traffic driving across town. I just ask Google Maps for the best route every day. (I live east and work west.)

But yeah, getting into the mountains from the east is a bit of a hike. Depends how much mountain you want. You can get in some of the Jefferson County Open Spaces in like a half-hour but if you want REAL mountains, you gotta drive more like an hour and a half, and sometimes the traffic on I-70 is painful.

I would consider moving to a lower COLA but my ex and I were living here when we got divorced, and there are kids. BUT, I love it here. It's lovely. Please feel free to ask me more questions about Denver. If you wanna PM me, you could give me more details about where you would be and I could tell you what I know. Good luck with the decision!

takemewest

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Re: How expensive is Denver, really?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2018, 02:32:15 PM »
Thanks, frugalparagon. I just sent you a message!