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Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Old Jul 2nd 2012, 2:24 am
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Default Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Hello Everyone

I have been based in Shanghai for 5 years now working for a US company. We now have a opportunity to relocate to our US office in Denver CO. Golden to be exact and I was wondering if anyone can help out by offering some advice regarding the living costs in Denver for a family of 3 with a 1 yr old.

I'm a British passport holder wife and kid both Chinese and we are applying for the L1B visa.

Questions.

Location - My office is based in Golden so lets say a nice suburb area inbetween Golden and Denver will do, not sure exactly where would be open to any suggestions?
Rent for 2 bed room house?
Kindergarten costs?
Food for a family per week? Lets say we buy at Wholefoods, I know this is one of the more expensive options but this will be a good marker.
Utilities bills Electric, gas, Cable TV, Phone, Cell Phone, etc.?
1 x Car, petrol,car insurance? (Honda Civic = Simple Sedan)
Mortgage for $300k house and taxes and management costs?
Any other costs for a family with one kid that we might need to consider?
Other costs in general?

Many thanks in advance.

Brds
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 2:39 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Hi and welcome.

Some of the Colorado members may come on shortly and give you some on the ground updates. I would also strongly recommend another forum, designed for people who are relocating and asking many of the same questions you are asking.

City Data is a relocation board with locals helping new arrivals. You'll get some good info on specifics of different suburbs and commutes:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/denver/

For some of the things, like Whole Foods, I'd urge you to check out some online grocery sites for an estimate of what you like and how much it would cost. If you can't find a whole food you could try PeaPod.com or safeway.com (not quite the same, but will give you an estimate on costs).
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 2:48 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Family health insurance can be a big cost. Find out ahead of time how your US employer handles health insurance. What the premiums are that you have to pay, whether it's HMO or other, how much each office visit is, prescriptions, if there's a limit to expenses per year, etc.

Also regarding dental and vision (if applicable) coverage.

Rene
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 2:48 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
Hi and welcome.

Some of the Colorado members may come on shortly and give you some on the ground updates. I would also strongly recommend another forum, designed for people who are relocating and asking many of the same questions you are asking.

City Data is a relocation board with locals helping new arrivals. You'll get some good info on specifics of different suburbs and commutes:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/denver/

For some of the things, like Whole Foods, I'd urge you to check out some online grocery sites for an estimate of what you like and how much it would cost. If you can't find a whole food you could try PeaPod.com or safeway.com (not quite the same, but will give you an estimate on costs).
Hi P6

Thanks for the promt reply, and good advice!!!

Brds
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 5:07 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Denver and Golden merge together, why do you want to live in between?

Not sure there are any 2 bedroom houses?
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 5:22 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by Pooney View Post
Hello Everyone
Questions.

Location - My office is based in Golden so lets say a nice suburb area inbetween Golden and Denver will do, not sure exactly where would be open to any suggestions?
Rent for 2 bed room house?
Kindergarten costs?
Food for a family per week? Lets say we buy at Wholefoods, I know this is one of the more expensive options but this will be a good marker.
Utilities bills Electric, gas, Cable TV, Phone, Cell Phone, etc.?
1 x Car, petrol,car insurance? (Honda Civic = Simple Sedan)
Mortgage for $300k house and taxes and management costs?
Any other costs for a family with one kid that we might need to consider?
Other costs in general?

Many thanks in advance.

Brds
Pooney
There isn't too much in between Denver and Golden-- Lakewood maybe? Generally speaking, you will live in one or the other and the neighborhoods will depend on which you choose.

Rent will vary depending on the neighborhood.

For a family of two we spend budget $175 per week for food, but usually end up in the $120 range. For a family of three at Whole Foods, you wouldn't be too far off the top end of this budget.

Utilities will depend on location and size of the property, but we pay around $100 per month for water, gas & electricity during the summer and it rises to around $170 in the winter. Comcast cable/internet is $115 per month and Verizon cell phone is $200 per month for us both.

Insurance will depend on driving history and we spend around $120 in gas per month for two cars, if we venture to the mountains etc then that can easily become much more.
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 5:22 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

No idea on child-related costs. I don't live in Denver itself so can't comment on areas I'm afraid.

OH and I spend about $100 at the supermarket every couple of weeks, buying as much organic stuff as we can.

We were paying $1700 monthly for a fairly basic 2-bed condo when we first moved over, but it was furnished and included all bills. Friends of ours were paying a lot less for nicer condos, but it was in a cheaper town and they then had to furnish them themselves.

Mortgage rates are seriously cheap just now, but to get a decent rate you'll need to build a credit history and put down at least 20% deposit. Taxes and HOA fees can vary enormously. On a $500k house I think our taxes were just short of $3k, but the HOA fees were only $200. In other areas it can be a LOT more (we almost bought a house where the HOA dues were $5k per year on top of $2k taxes), or it can be less. It depends what's included by the HOA. House insurance is stupidly expensive - we're paying around $2k per annum, and it's likely to go up next year given the recent wildfires (although we do live in the trees and it probably will be cheaper if you don't).

Cars can be as cheap or as expensive as you want, and there's plenty of choice in Denver. If you need credit, you'll struggle unless you can use something like Autosource. i'd also check whether your employer offers you access to a credit union as you can get loans, credit cards, mortgages etc there at sensible rates. Insurance will be expensive to start, think our Lexus SUV was $600 for the first six months but it does drop and 2 years later we're about $600 for 2 SUVs. Petrol is currently around $3.60 for a (US-sized) gallon. However, if you're thinking of living on the I-70 corridor, and anywhere west of Denver, I'd urge you to think very carefully about what you buy. A Honda Civic would be okay as town runabout, but I would not want to be driving in the mountains in winter in one (and I'm up and down that road virtually every weekend from early November to April). Our SUV (with proper winter tyres, not just all seasons) seriously saved our bacon once this year. A set of decent winter tyres will cost around $900.

Utilities don't come cheap - in the summer we're about $200 a month for water and probably the same for electricity (but we run the A/C a lot and have a 6000 sq ft house on a very large plot). In the winter, gas was about $200 a month too. These are worst case figures - obviously water and electricity are cheaper in the winter and gas is cheaper in the summer - last month's gas bill was less than $50. We're about $60 per month for TV (basic package, we don't have any of the extra sports, film or children's channels) and about the same for internet. Phone line is about $25 per month. Mobiles are not cheap and we must be about $140 for them. Bins are about $60 a quarter, but some HOAs will include them in their fees.

Other costs - eating out is generally cheap, as are clothes, electronics and the like. Furniture is not cheap if you want decent stuff, but there's always IKEA for basics and American Furniture Warehouse which is cheap. Outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful both summer and winter, and if you decide to get the kids into skiing (which is practically on the doorstep if you're living on the west side of Denver) there are good deals to be had.

This all sounds a lot but much of it is variable depending on exactly where you live. Colorado is a fantastic state though and I really like it here.
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 8:00 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by MadRad View Post
No idea on child-related costs. I don't live in Denver itself so can't comment on areas I'm afraid.

OH and I spend about $100 at the supermarket every couple of weeks, buying as much organic stuff as we can.

We were paying $1700 monthly for a fairly basic 2-bed condo when we first moved over, but it was furnished and included all bills. Friends of ours were paying a lot less for nicer condos, but it was in a cheaper town and they then had to furnish them themselves.

Mortgage rates are seriously cheap just now, but to get a decent rate you'll need to build a credit history and put down at least 20% deposit. Taxes and HOA fees can vary enormously. On a $500k house I think our taxes were just short of $3k, but the HOA fees were only $200. In other areas it can be a LOT more (we almost bought a house where the HOA dues were $5k per year on top of $2k taxes), or it can be less. It depends what's included by the HOA. House insurance is stupidly expensive - we're paying around $2k per annum, and it's likely to go up next year given the recent wildfires (although we do live in the trees and it probably will be cheaper if you don't).

Cars can be as cheap or as expensive as you want, and there's plenty of choice in Denver. If you need credit, you'll struggle unless you can use something like Autosource. i'd also check whether your employer offers you access to a credit union as you can get loans, credit cards, mortgages etc there at sensible rates. Insurance will be expensive to start, think our Lexus SUV was $600 for the first six months but it does drop and 2 years later we're about $600 for 2 SUVs. Petrol is currently around $3.60 for a (US-sized) gallon. However, if you're thinking of living on the I-70 corridor, and anywhere west of Denver, I'd urge you to think very carefully about what you buy. A Honda Civic would be okay as town runabout, but I would not want to be driving in the mountains in winter in one (and I'm up and down that road virtually every weekend from early November to April). Our SUV (with proper winter tyres, not just all seasons) seriously saved our bacon once this year. A set of decent winter tyres will cost around $900.

Utilities don't come cheap - in the summer we're about $200 a month for water and probably the same for electricity (but we run the A/C a lot and have a 6000 sq ft house on a very large plot). In the winter, gas was about $200 a month too. These are worst case figures - obviously water and electricity are cheaper in the winter and gas is cheaper in the summer - last month's gas bill was less than $50. We're about $60 per month for TV (basic package, we don't have any of the extra sports, film or children's channels) and about the same for internet. Phone line is about $25 per month. Mobiles are not cheap and we must be about $140 for them. Bins are about $60 a quarter, but some HOAs will include them in their fees.

Other costs - eating out is generally cheap, as are clothes, electronics and the like. Furniture is not cheap if you want decent stuff, but there's always IKEA for basics and American Furniture Warehouse which is cheap. Outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful both summer and winter, and if you decide to get the kids into skiing (which is practically on the doorstep if you're living on the west side of Denver) there are good deals to be had.

This all sounds a lot but much of it is variable depending on exactly where you live. Colorado is a fantastic state though and I really like it here.
Hi Rad

Many thanks for the advice, mind me asking how many members in your family?

Pooney
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 9:59 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by MadRad View Post
No idea on child-related costs. I don't live in Denver itself so can't comment on areas I'm afraid.

OH and I spend about $100 at the supermarket every couple of weeks, buying as much organic stuff as we can.

We were paying $1700 monthly for a fairly basic 2-bed condo when we first moved over, but it was furnished and included all bills. Friends of ours were paying a lot less for nicer condos, but it was in a cheaper town and they then had to furnish them themselves.

Mortgage rates are seriously cheap just now, but to get a decent rate you'll need to build a credit history and put down at least 20% deposit. Taxes and HOA fees can vary enormously. On a $500k house I think our taxes were just short of $3k, but the HOA fees were only $200. In other areas it can be a LOT more (we almost bought a house where the HOA dues were $5k per year on top of $2k taxes), or it can be less. It depends what's included by the HOA. House insurance is stupidly expensive - we're paying around $2k per annum, and it's likely to go up next year given the recent wildfires (although we do live in the trees and it probably will be cheaper if you don't).

Cars can be as cheap or as expensive as you want, and there's plenty of choice in Denver. If you need credit, you'll struggle unless you can use something like Autosource. i'd also check whether your employer offers you access to a credit union as you can get loans, credit cards, mortgages etc there at sensible rates. Insurance will be expensive to start, think our Lexus SUV was $600 for the first six months but it does drop and 2 years later we're about $600 for 2 SUVs. Petrol is currently around $3.60 for a (US-sized) gallon. However, if you're thinking of living on the I-70 corridor, and anywhere west of Denver, I'd urge you to think very carefully about what you buy. A Honda Civic would be okay as town runabout, but I would not want to be driving in the mountains in winter in one (and I'm up and down that road virtually every weekend from early November to April). Our SUV (with proper winter tyres, not just all seasons) seriously saved our bacon once this year. A set of decent winter tyres will cost around $900.

Utilities don't come cheap - in the summer we're about $200 a month for water and probably the same for electricity (but we run the A/C a lot and have a 6000 sq ft house on a very large plot). In the winter, gas was about $200 a month too. These are worst case figures - obviously water and electricity are cheaper in the winter and gas is cheaper in the summer - last month's gas bill was less than $50. We're about $60 per month for TV (basic package, we don't have any of the extra sports, film or children's channels) and about the same for internet. Phone line is about $25 per month. Mobiles are not cheap and we must be about $140 for them. Bins are about $60 a quarter, but some HOAs will include them in their fees.

Other costs - eating out is generally cheap, as are clothes, electronics and the like. Furniture is not cheap if you want decent stuff, but there's always IKEA for basics and American Furniture Warehouse which is cheap. Outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful both summer and winter, and if you decide to get the kids into skiing (which is practically on the doorstep if you're living on the west side of Denver) there are good deals to be had.

This all sounds a lot but much of it is variable depending on exactly where you live. Colorado is a fantastic state though and I really like it here.
Sorry one more thing, not quite sure whats meant by "Bins are about $60 a quarter" how does this work?

Thanks
Brds
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 10:06 am
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

I think he is referring to the fact that some places charge for trash pickup.
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 3:35 pm
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

1 car? Need at least 2....and general rule of thumb is $1K per 6 month for decent cover on a new car and be happy if it is less, certainly will be for a second hand car.

Other things to factor in, having no credit history, you'll need to expect to put down a deposit on every utility, ranging from $50-500 a pop. Be happy if you don't have to, or be happy if it goes towards your bill or gets returned.

Other things to consider, just how expensive it can be doing things with kids, museums, sporting events, whatever. It might not be bad in that neck of the woods, but they usually can be pretty pricey.

Also, what medical insurance costs have you factored in? The monthly contribution, co-pays, deductibles etc.
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by MadRad View Post
OH and I spend about $100 at the supermarket every couple of weeks, buying as much organic stuff as we can.
Blimey am I reading that right?
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Blimey am I reading that right?
That'd be about a hand basket down my way, so yeah, either a small grocery shop or it's a boat load cheaper over there and I'm very jealous
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
That'd be about a hand basket down my way, so yeah, either a small grocery shop or it's a boat load cheaper over there and I'm very jealous
Phew I know I'm not the most frugal housewife but that sounded incredible.
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Old Jul 2nd 2012, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: Young Family moving to Denver CO.

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Phew I know I'm not the most frugal housewife but that sounded incredible.
It's doable if you don't get organic stuff, but I can't see how for organic, I mean a red pepper is about $4 and then a head of lettuce at the farm stand is $1.69 but if you want organic it's a smidge under $4 again and then the corn is about a buck a cobb instead of 4 for a buck, etc, etc.

So if anyone can do it, that's really good going and I'm really jealous.
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