Denver Real Estate and Community News

UrbanDen is owned and operated by Matt Jackson, a Denver and global real estate enthusiast. Highly opinionated and candid, Matt uses this platform as an outlet for community information and real estate insights. Comments, questions and debates are welcomed, however, spam is not. Feel free to ask questions here or in an email. Also, if you’d like to submit a blog to our page, we’d be happy to accommodate as long as it’s content is non-malicious and promotes community and real estate awareness.  



March 2, 2017

Denver’s New Short-Term Rental License, No Need to Panic

In June of 2016, the Denver City Council voted to allow, regulate, and tax (10.75%) short-term home rentals within city limits starting January 1st of this year. Short-term rentals are defined as a rental term of anything less than 30 days. Few people know that this is actually an amendment to an unenforced zoning ordinance that was in effect for many years prohibiting short-term rentals in the entire city. The new rules only allow the use of someone’s primary residence to be rented short-term. This is not just extended to homeowners; renters can rent out their homes with permission from their landlord. 

Denver short-term rental license get approved for a short-term rental license, “hosts” must obtain a Denver Lodger’s Tax ID Number and then a Short-Term Rental Business License. Hosts are then provided with their license number and are required to post their number on their short-term listings. Failing to obtain a short-term license can cost a short-term rental host fines up to $999. 

Last week, the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses sent out 1,057 violations, mostly to hosts that have not posted their license numbers on their listings on sites like AirBnB, VRBO, HomeAway, and many others. First time violators face fines of $150, bumping up to $500 for the second violation, and $999 for every violation after that. 

The new regulations have caused a stir among real estate investors throughout the city, especially those that have multiple properties used to generate income through short-term rentals via AirBnB and alike. Some believe that investors will divest their properties as a result of the regulations, which will provide much needed inventory to the depleted cache of available homes for sale in the Denver area. It’s hard to imagine there would be much difference between 6 and 7 weeks’ worth of inventory when normal home market conditions call for around 12-16 weeks. 

There are other options of course, like renting out long term. In most cases this provides less rental revenue but also less headaches and turnover. Longer term rentals also create a more stable and fixed revenue stream with lower variable costs, such as damaged property.

I personally believe the new licensing will have very little effect on the ability for hosts to promote and rent their properties through conventional channels. Real estate investors tend to be innately savvy and governments tend to be slow to react to holes in the system. Most short-term investors I know already have legal work arounds for the new licensing issues and I’m sure some of the more cavalier investors have more not-so legal avenues to take. In the end, it’s not such a hardship for short-term hosts and the City of Denver gets its 10.75%. 


Matt Jackson, Denver Realtor


Feb. 23, 2017

Consider Solar, It's Worth It

Energy bills are rising faster (but not by much) than the temperature of our planet. It’s a known fact that one way to slow both down is to install solar panels on your house or property. It’s a lesser known fact that installing solar panels on your hsolar panelsome can effectively enhance a buyer’s perception of your home and raise its resale value. Some studies have shown that resale values increase as much as $4 per watt, meaning that a home with a 4 KW (4,000 watts) system has a potential increase in home value of $16,000. Here are some common questions regarding solar panels:

How much money will a solar system save me on my energy bill?

Depending on where you live, solar panels can save customers anywhere from $44-$187/month. One study calculated the average savings for Denver residents around $71/month. This amount is for the money saved on a monthly energy bill and is calculated without loan, lease, or PPA payments.

Which type of solar system should I get, solar PV or solar thermal?

Here in Colorado, most home, rooftop solar systems are photovoltaic (PV). Solar thermal systems operate in a much different way, generally by turning sunlight into heat and then into energy. Solar PV panels capture sunlight and turn it into energy immediately. Solar PV is a newer and more efficient technology, with systems lasting as long as 30 years. Solar thermal systems don’t last as long and are more prone to problems. Winter months are particularly hard on thermal systems.

What are ways to pay for solar panels on my house?

There are a handful of ways to pay for solar panels on your home. Of course, there’s the cash option. Paying for the system up front gives you all the benefits the system has to offer- the lowest monthly energy pull from your local energy grid, lowest monthly energy bill, and it gives you the highest possible resale value that the panels will add to your home. Getting a loan to finance the system gives you the lowest possible energy bill but is offset some by the loan payments. You can also lease the system, which is a low-cost way to acquire the system and also not be responsible for most of the required maintenance. The most interesting option is the solar power purchase agreement or PPA. This is where the solar power developer designs, installs, and finances the system at little or no cost to the homeowner and then sells the energy generated by the system back to the homeowner at a discounted rate, usually at a lower cost than the local energy company.

Do solar panels increase the value of my home?  

Some people debate the idea that solar panels add to the resale value of homes. I certainly believe they do. Obviously, solar systems cost money to purchase install, and maintain, but with the growing awareness of their benefits on energy bills and the planet itself, solar panels are becoming more and more desired by people all over the world. The debate actually comes with the owners of the systems themselves. When customers actually own the systems on their roofs, the home has more value. That being said, leases and PPA’s are also appealing to potential buyers. 

The bottom line is that home renewable energy systems are a viable investment that homeowners, buyers, and sellers should consider. At the very least, a growing number of home buyers find that homes with solar panels more appealing than those without. This creates more interest in homes with panels, effectively raising the resale value on its own. If you’re interested in home solar panels, I encourage you to reach out to a trusted renewable energy vendor. I steer all of my friends and clients to Camden Ohrt of Are Solar, 

Matt Jackson, Denver Realtor


Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 13, 2017

The Home Buying Window is Closing

The average homeowner buys a home every 7 years, typically moving into larger and/or more expensive homes. As some families grow, homeowners are obligated to buy larger homes to accommodate their larger families. These are called “Move Up” buyers and it becomes financially easier to accomplish due to the increase in equity a homeowner gains with each passing year of homeownership. In a seller’s real estate market, much like we’ve seen over the past 4 years, the increase in equity is multiplied even more as home prices rise at high levels. From June 2015 to June 2016, Colorado homeowners gained an average 26% of equity in their homes as home prices increased 10% over the same time period. 

With historically low interest rates and accelerated gains in home equity, move up buyers have had a relatively easy time buying more expensive homes in the past four years. Unfortunately, buying a home in Denver will become harder for homebuyers as interest rates increase and affordability falls, consequently making selling a home in Denver equally difficult. 

After speaking with many clients over the last year, I’ve noticed a common misconception that home prices will fall when the Denver real estate market cools off. That, simply, is not the case.  Interest rates affect a buyer’s purchasing power but home prices are affected by many other conditions. Lack of inventory, as well as other aspects, have put as much upward pressure on home prices in Denver as low interest rates have. Right now, in Denver, our available home inventory is at 5 weeks. That means, theoretically, that if no other homes were to go on the market, it would take 5 weeks to sell the homes that are available today. Nationally, home prices don’t start decreasing until housing inventory reaches 6-7 months of inventory. 

The bottom line is that there won’t be a better time to move up or buy for the first time. Denver home buyers sitting on the sideline for a year or two might be sitting for longer than that. 

Posted by Matt Jackson, Denver Realtor, UrbanDen Real Estate
Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 1, 2017

Buyer Affordability

 How Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | Simplifying The Market

How Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 4.09%, which is still very low in comparison to recent history!

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments in between $2,300 and $2,350 a month.

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $12,500). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

For some the time for waiting is over.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 27, 2017

Thinking of Selling

Waiting for the Spring to Sell? This Year Could be Different

Thinking of Selling? Why Now is the Time | MyKCM

It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season.

For that reason, many Denver area homeowners hold off on putting their homes on the market until then. Will that be a good strategy this year with the fear of rising interest rates?

The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring, as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed that the months in which most people listed their homes for sale in 2016 are April, May, and June.

What does this mean to you?

With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer. Click here for a market report of active, under contract, and recently sold homes in your area. Click this link to see the value of your home.

Bottom Line

It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home today. If you have questions about selling your home, don't hesitate to contact me at (303) 815-2028 or email


Posted in Selling Your Home
Jan. 24, 2017

2016 Another Year of Double Digit Gains for Denver

2016 was a great year for homeowners, sellers and buyers (believe it or not). By my own calculations from data from the MLS, Denver’s average home sale price increased 9% from the beginning of 2016 to the start of 2016. Certain areas performed better than others with communities in each sector of town with high double digit gains. Buyers in these high performing areas should feel confident in their purchase. Even at a third of the level of a 10% annual appreciation, they made a sound investment. Here are the highlights of 2016:


University 24%

Globeville 20%

Wheat Ridge 21%

Cherry Creek 17%

Harvey Park 16%

Edgewater 15%

Lakewood 15%

Mayfair 14%

Golden Triangle 13%

Southmoor Park 12%

Wash Park 12%

Berkeley 11%

Golden 11%

Athmar Park 10%

Park Hill 10%

*avg sales price is not the only stat that represents performance
Dec. 27, 2016

The Basics of Preparing Your Home to Sell

The bare necessities...

I often get the question “How much do I really have to do to my house in this crazy real estate market?” The answer: exactly the same amount you should do in a normal or down market.

The state of the real estate market should have no affect on how your home should be marketed. Market is the operative word here and you’re not only competing with other sellers but yourself. Sometimes the smallest detail can be the difference between buyers wanting your house or your wanting your neighbor’s house or the difference between getting one offer and getting five offers. Fact: The more offers you get means the more money ending up in your pocket.




The very basics and absolute necessities:


  • Clean- I always recommend having the home professionally cleaned. No matter how much you think you’re an amazing housekeeper, you’re not the best!
  • Unclutter- This means that almost everything, excluding the bare essentials (lamps, plants, etc.), should be packed and put away. 
  • Clean and mow the yard- The yard is where buyers imagine their kids playing and is the first and last area buyers see. 
  • Touch up paint- Scuffs and handprints add up quick. Make sure to use a Magic Eraser first.


These items cost a little more money but should be considered:


  • Carpet Cleaning
  • Window cleaning
  • Full Wall or Room Painting


These are just some of the items that should be addressed prior to selling your home. Some improvements could cost quite a bit of money and before you decide to invest in larger ticket items, sellers should consult with their real estate agent to determine if they’re worth it. Every house and every situation is different, but small improvements almost always mean a larger deposit into your bank account. 


Posted in Selling Your Home
Dec. 19, 2016

A Note to Real Estate Investors

A note to real estate investors...

One of the biggest mistakes I see "buy and hold" real estate investors make is that they don't have a good handle on the rental market before they decide to buy a property. I often get calls from clients who recently purchased a property with help from other agents, with plans to lease the property to generate cash flow. Nine times out of ten the buyer and the buyer's agent are misinformed about the local rental market, often getting their information from national sources, such as Zillow and Trulia, biting on articles titled "Rents Reach Historic Highs!" What they don't realize is that these articles are derived from data not specific to individual investors and shouldn't be applied as such. 

The truth of the matter is that rents in the Denver Metro area have been on the decline for over a year now, especially in the luxury condo submarket. This can be directly attributed to the boom in apartment development, and yes, apartment construction has affected the single family market as well. In 2013, there were 3,741 new apartment units completed. Since 2013, there have been roughly 39,000 completed and another 20,400 slated for completion in 2017. Unfortunately, national sources get their data from these same apartment complexes, which offer lower deposit rates and multiple months of free rent, further skewing the results. 

Most real estate agents don't specialize in both leasing and sales. When consulting with a real estate agent to buy an investment property, make sure you confirm their knowledge of the relative rental market. Failure to do so almost always results in a lower than expected Return On Investment and even worse, negative cash flow