Guides-Northern Colorado, Northern Colorado

2023 Northern Colorado Real Estate Investing Guide

Executive Summary

What do you need to know about Northern Colorado?

  1. Northern Colorado market has significant investment opportunities
    • Winning strategies include
      • New construction opportunity to buy equity
      • House Hack (Single Family and Small Multi) 
      • Long Term Rental Single Family Rental
  2. Positive Drivers for Northern Colorado Real Estate include
    • Highest population growth in Colorado 
    • Job growth and new big investments drive future growth
  3. Market Considerations
    • Interest rates limiting sellers from putting on market
    • Barrier to investors seeking cash flow
    • More renters because they can’t afford to buy
    • Still too little supply of houses
  4. Opportunity Costs
    • Waiting until rates come down, will lose time in the market.  
    • Pent up demand – when rates go down, rush of potential buyers will push prices up and will need to compete again at higher price levels.
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Table of Contents

Northern Colorado Real Estate Trends

Northern Colorado detached single-family homes price increase is 2x Denver.

Northern Colorado attached single-family homes price increase is 6x Denver.

Big 5 Average Price is Up 9.18% / YR

Northern Colorado is made up of 5 counties (also called the Big 5) which includes Loveland, Longmont, Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley. Home prices in the Big 5 are currently averaging 9.18% in appreciation per year.

Big 5 City Homes: Historical Context

The 3 primary drivers of growth in Northern Colorado’s Real Estate Market are

  1. Market as a Brand: Each market is a collection of perceptions, similar to brands embodying certain qualities. Northern Colorado, including places like Denver, Fort Collins, Greeley, and Colorado Springs, carries a distinct character and momentum meaning they’re more likely to grow.
  2. Job and Population Growth: Efforts are being made to attract job-ready young individuals, fostering a stronger workforce. This initiative is crucial as businesses rely on quality employees for growth. The region is focusing on establishing partnerships with high schools and colleges to provide businesses with skilled workers directly from these institutions, promoting an easy transition from education to employment.
  3. Economic Environment: The state maintains lower unemployment rates compared to the rest of the US, indicating its favorable economic position.

Population Growth

Northern Colorado accounts for 51% of Colorado’s growth. With 15% coming from Larimer county and 36% coming from Weld County.

“New” is driving Northern Colorado Real Estate up including new construction and new investments into the region.

Jobs Drawing people to Northern Colorado

Source: U.S. BLS, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

More tech companies and large institutions are moving to Northern Colorado including Ursa Major Tech, Vestas, Agilent Technologies and Microvast amongst others.

Tech & Higher Paying Jobs

Northern Colorado Driving Co Pop Growth

“New” is driving Northern Colorado Real Estate Up

Strategy circle: Where's the opportunity?

False Seller's Market

Are we in a false sellers market? The short answer is Yes. When we’re looking at months of inventory (MOI)  if it’s under four months, we generally consider that a seller’s market. If it goes four to six months, we’re starting to move to a balanced market. If it’s above that, it’s a buyer’s market. 

But there’s something else that’s going on right now that isn’t always obvious to people. Which leads us to our next point.

Artificially High Interest Rates

There’s an artificial play happening on interest rates. This is causing sellers to avoid putting their properties on the market because they may not get the value they’re seeking for them. Thus creating what we would normally look at at first glance as a seller’s market. It’s actually a buyer’s market out there.

Pick Your Strategy Wisely

Northern Colorado Deal Analyses

Deal #1: Buy $63K Equity


Investor client was looking to add to their rental portfolio.  Denver prices and interest rates create challenges so the client wanted to see if Northern Colorado has lower prices and if new construction can provide discounts/incentives.  Looking for a property under $500K and close to cash flow positive, if possible, could self-manage.

Investor Profile

  • Investor with a couple Single Family Rentals
  • Wanting to purchase in 2023 and continue to build portfolio
  • Looking for lower price points and if New Construction has deals and low maintenance
  • Consider Self-management

MLS has most of the properties but not all the incentives.

 Investor Friendly Agent has additional builder contacts and knowledge

Investment Property Details

  • Type:  Single Family Detached – New construction
  • Config: 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom
  • Location:  Severance, CO
  • Concession:  $13,571 (3%)
  • List Price:  $477,375 + $25K options = $502,375
  • Discount:  $50,000
  • Purchase price:  $438,803

Why we like it

  • Gain $63K equity day one
  • New construction, low maintenance
  • Good up-and-coming area

Rental Analysis

Notes on monthly income:

  • Potential pet rent
  • Could self manage
  • Maintenance in reserves
  • Total Return Y1 $22.3K /13% ROE

With Refinance

  • Refinance to 5% in 12-24 months – cashflow positive
  • Total Ann Return after Refi $29K /16.7% ROE


  • Good deal to acquire equity and lower cost of entry in higher interest environment.  
  • Opportunity to self manage, add pet rent to get closer to cash flow positive.  
  • Opportunity to refinance in 12-24 months and have some positive cash flow. 
  • Deal shows that buying now is buying equity and gets better with refi,
  • When rates decrease people will bid up prices, further benefiting this property through greater appreciation.

Deal #2: 1-year house hack to rental


Client was looking to get their first property and felt House Hacking was the best way in.  Started as owner-occupied with low down, 5%, and then rent after the first year with roommates helping pay the mortgage.

Investor Profile

  • New investor – recent college grad with good job
  • Doesn’t have a have 20% down so needs less expensive way to acquire
  • Likes new construction, low maintenance for first few years and in new up and coming developments

Investment Property Details

  • Config: 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom
  • Type:  Single Family Detached – New construction
  • Location:  Windsor, CO
  • List Price:  $491,864
  • Purchase price:  $491,864  

Why we like it

  • New construction, low maintenance
  • No bidding up prices with new builds
  • High demand community

Contract Details

  • Finding the property:  We focused on a couple of communities and builders for a good entry level property that would make a good rental.  Watched for a new phase of a sought-after community releasing.  Client was prepped and ready and we were able to get property quickly after release.
  • Under contract:  At list price + Options
  • Contract: Builders Contract, favors them
    • Ernest is 50% of options, goes hard immediately
  • Inspection Concerns:
    • New build Inspection items 
    • Most corrected before close
    • Rest in warranty 12 months
  • Inspection negotiation outcome:
    • None needed

Financing Overview

  • Lender: Conventional
  • Loan Type: Owner Occupied, 30 Yr fixed
  • Interest Rate:  4.375%
  • Appraisal: $29K over purchase price
  • Seller Concessions: 0%
  • PMI: Monthly
  • Interest Rate Buy Down?: No

Note:  Was able to lock in rate 120 days out, made a big difference.  Lock in rate premium was applied to the closing costs.

Rental Analysis


  • Purchase price at list
  • Low down payment made acquisition possible


  • Trash and NP Water billbacks
  • Maintenance in reserves
  • PMI goes away in 4 yrs

Return Breakdown

Total Return Y1 $32.3K /48.3% ROE


  • Great leverage strategy with 5% down in a high demand community development
  • Earns ~$200 to ~$400 per month above same model in other developments.  
  • PMI will fall off and rents will cover and have positive cashflow by year 5.  
  • Should have low maintenance for first few years.

Deal #3: House Hack Fourplex


Client and parents looking for opportunity to get an investment property while their college student child goes to college and could benefit and learn about investing and managing a property.  Parents have other properties and understand will cosign for the property with college student.

Investor Profile

  • New investor – College Student with Investor parents
  • Utilize owner occupied to get better interest rate and lower down to acquire property
  • Wants to learn how the small multifamily works and have less housing expense

Investment Property Details

Resale – 4 Plex 7bdr/ 4ba

Location: Greeley, CO

Asking Price: $500,000

Purch Price: $475,000

Why we like it:

  • Close to UNC
  • Minimal monthly cost (renters pay)
  • Opportunity to self mgt
  • No HOA/ No Metro Tax

Contract Details​

  • Finding the property:  We searched 4 unit near campus.  Looking at long days on the MLS
  • Under contract:  Below list
  • Inspection Concerns:
    • 1916 build 
    • Looking at structure and major mechanical
  • Inspection negotiation outcome:
    • None needed

Financing Overview

  • Lender: Conventional
  • Loan Type: Owner Occupied, 30 Yr fixed
  • Interest Rate:  6.0%
  • Appraisal: at value, no issues.
  • Seller Concessions: 0%
  • PMI: Monthly
  • Interest Rate Buy Down: No

Rental Analysis

Notes on monthly income:

  • Analysis on 4 renters
  • Higher reserves due to age of property
  • PMI goes away in 5 yrs

Notes on monthly income:

  • Purchase price below list

Return Breakdown

  • Total Return Y1 $29,639 /60.8% ROE
  • 16.83% CoC / 8% Cap rate
  • Cash flows as a rental with self mgmt
  • Provides almost free rent for student
  • After completing college can fully rent or have property mgr
  • Appreciation slower due to age and location

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