In a city where the rent is a mile high, finding the perfect apartment isn’t just a challenge—it’s almost impossible. Limited housing might make you feel like you can’t be picky, but that doesn’t mean you should wind up in a place that doesn’t suit your needs. Before jumping into the nearest $1,600 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, consider these three things.
Commute & Transportation
Denverites with cars can pretty much commute anywhere they need to, but if you are a car owner, you need to think of vital things like commute time and parking. As more and more people move to Denver, highways and interstates become more congested, increasing commute times.
If you live in the heart of Denver and own a car, you’ll also need to consider parking. Street parking is common, but consider things like street sweeping (a $50 ticket!) and the potential for hit-and-runs (common in the winter). If you’ve got a vehicle you adore, you can probably find a place with off-street parking, but it definitely comes with a price, usually at least $100 in addition to your rent.
Those without cars need to consider walkability and public transportation. If you’re a public transit user, consider walking neighborhoods and looking up routes before committing to an apartment. If you choose poorly, you might wind up spending more on Ubers or taxis than you expected.
Denver is often portrayed as an active, safe city, but safety depends on your definition, no one else’s. Some people might feel completely safe walking around notorious neighborhoods at all hours, while others might feel unsafe anywhere after dark. Look up neighborhood crime maps and consider what makes you feel safe. Lively neighborhoods like Lodo and Capitol Hill are often spots for crimes-of-opportunity, while other neighborhoods have higher gang activity or more break-ins.
When you find a great deal, don’t jump right in before considering how safe you feel in the neighborhood or building. There’s nothing worse than moving into a place then feeling afraid for the entirety of your lease.
Okay, grocery stores might not seem like a big deal, but in the city, they are. Find out how close the nearest grocery store is—some areas of Denver, mostly in North Denver, are still food deserts—and think of how you’ll transport groceries. Being far away from a grocery store can make you spend more on ordering items in or going out to eat instead of cooking your own food. Also, you might wind up spending a lot on taxis or Ubers if you need to transport groceries and don’t have a car. Also, a tip about grocery stores: the Unsafeway is really not unsafe, and the Queen Soopers is great.
These three things will make or break your experience in Denver, but don’t forget to consider things like reviewing the terms of the lease and searching the bedbug registry before committing to your new home.