HUMAN STORIES ARE WHAT
MAKE THINGS INTERESTING
Stories of the people behind the real estate.
As a Realtor, Olivia Kunevicius, has the privilege of having a front row seat to listen to all the rich stories of both buyers looking to create their ideal home, and sellers who are leaving a home they’ve worked hard to establish. Those stories are rarely highlighted, which is why she’s created this blog to share images and stories of Humans At Home with you.
Morrison // Colorado
How did you decide to move out to Morrison from the east side of Denver?
Mauro: “We found out Leticia got pregnant. Guiliana was kind of the whoops baby, a big whoops for sure. We were staying in the basement at my mom’s house because we had just sold Leticia’s house in Montbello. They offered for us to live there so we could save money. We’d help them out with a little bit of rent. Leticia had just gone back to school so we stayed there until she finished her bachelor’s.
I’d spend a lot of time with Abel, our son, but when we found out Leticia was pregnant with Guiliana, I thought, ‘we gotta get a house now!’ Once we found that out, I was grinding hard for three months, we saved up over $20K for a downpayment.
East Colfax // Denver, CO
It was 2010 during the economic downturn. I still had a job and all of my co-workers were buying houses so I thought, ‘if they can buy houses I can buy a house.’ Then I met a realtor, and we looked everywhere. One day she called and asked me what I was doing right at that second. I wasn’t working. So she said ‘are you available, let’s go look at this house, it literally just came on the market and I think you’re going to love it.’ That’s how we found my first house. I qualified for the $8K Obama tax credit which was so awesome. I was essentially able to start my life. I still had roommates because it was just me back then and then slowly it started gaining value.
Downtown // Denver, CO
Every square inch was beige and now there’s basically no beige in here. I had to paint everything, replace the floors, install new light fixtures. I think the building is really modern but I like modern. I like a little more of an earthy modern versus a super “lots of metal and lacquer” type modern. The whole vibe was ‘let’s have a pre-drink here’. I wanted there to be plenty of seating but it’s not set up to have friends come over to watch movies here or have a dinner party. That’s what I was going for in terms of the design.
Englewood // Colorado
It was pretty sudden. We had kind of mentioned it and then Eric went to a first time homebuyer class and we were like, ‘oh, we’re buying a house’. It was on the radar that we wanted to get a house in the next few years, but it wasn’t really a possibility until suddenly Eric’s company sold and all the sudden we had the down payment and with both of our leases ending, now seemed as good of a time as any.
Centennial // Colorado
It was emotional to decide to sell the house. We were hesitant to sell because we spent 4 years living there, put so much money and effort into the house, and created so many memories there. Plus, we grew up a few miles away from there our whole lives. But we knew that we needed a bigger house and we can create memories there too. Definitely the hardest part was/is getting the new house ready and trying to juggle the baby, work, and life. Now we’re in an area that we don’t know quite as well. We’re jumping out of our comfort zone but it’s what we have to do. Things will fall into place.
Arvada // Colorado
“We wanted a bigger place than we had before, somewhere that we could grow into. We knew we eventually wanted to have a kid, we just didn’t realize it would happen so soon, so that wasn’t our main motivation. That was more of a longer term viewpoint, to think ‘we’ll need room for a kid down the road’. But Shane, with all of his hobbies, really wanted a space where he could be creative; forging knives and working on his bikes and race car. Where we were living in the city we didn’t have a garage so he had to just do it all in the street which didn’t work very well. Whenever a car would drive by he’d have to pull his legs in.
Lakewood // Colorado
“That little house in Aurora was so good to us. We bought it in July 2009 which was a really good time because we could buy a house for next to nothing and get the $8,000 tax credit. Thank you, Obama. No really, thank you. We didn’t plan to have kids there, but then we had two surprise kids. We really wanted to get back to Lakewood to be closer to my family which was a huge motivating factor to sell.
Aurora // Colorado
“It seriously was fun for the first two months, it was exciting. We saw so many different things that we liked and didn’t like and figured out the things we were willing to compromise on. Then it started to feel like we were in a parade. Every time we went to go see a house it was like the Parade of Homes and everyone and their grandma was there. We’d see the same couples at every house for a weekend. Sometimes we’d even see them for the next couple weekends. Then we’d start seeing them less and less and then we’d get so pissed thinking they already snatched a place and we were still out looking. We’re thinking, ‘we’re still here, Tee and Koni still at it again!’ It was pretty bad. We saw 70 houses and wrote 19 contracts before we got our house.
Green Valley Ranch // Denver
“I’ve given my entire life to education. I just finished my 25th year in education back in the Spring. That’s my identity, that’s who I am, an educator. When this opportunity came along to become a principal, I said ‘absolutely!’ I couldn’t pass it up. I was so excited to open up a school, to found a school. The first time I drove out here to come to a community meeting I thought, ‘oh my God, it’s so far away, it’s near the airport!’ I was living in Lakewood at the time and thinking, ‘okay I can do this, I can do a commute, that’s not a big deal.’ I think it was 24 miles one way. It was a year and a half of doing that commute and every month the commute got longer and longer. It got to the point I was leaving the house at 6:20am, dropping Logan off and getting to school at 7:30am. As a single parent that’s not the quality of life I wanted. So although education has been my identity for so long, now my second identity is being a mom and being a single mom requires a lot.
Curtis Park // Denver
“I’m in the military and I got stationed here from Utah. Coming from Utah to Colorado, I figured it wouldn’t be a big difference but I know how religious Utah is and how really open Denver was because I had visited Denver a bunch of times and the people were amazing. That’s what drew me to apply for the position out here in Denver, the people and the architecture around here. Everything around here is so beautiful in kind of a really old kind of style and I really like that, although they’re throwing up new houses everywhere.
Wheat Ridge // Denver
“We want to start a family and have something that’s 100% ours – basically make it our home. We’re urban and we weren’t going to move to the suburbs, we’d rather rent than move out of the city. Rent was a huge thing with what we were paying, now we’re paying our own mortgage so it’s heading towards our own equity. The process for our first home was daunting, especially with Denver’s market, but well worth it to get through. It was putting in a contract and getting your hopes up and then not having the contract go through and when it finally did, it was the most exciting thing ever.
Sunnyside // Denver
“We found the house about a month after Harper was born. We were sitting in a cafe eating brunch, right after having done her newborn photos and we saw this house pop up in the email and it seemed to hit everything we were looking for. We thought we could just go by and peek in the windows, and sure enough there was an open house. We were there for 2 hours, it was a super long time. As soon as George walked in, he started measuring with his arms, seeing if we could take this wall down and move these windows. It needed a lot of work but it was move in ready and that was important for her. We talked about other houses, about finding dumps, and there was no way we wanted to move in with a newborn and have it just be an awful place to live. Since George had a construction background, he knew that was something he could offer to us as a family, that would be his contribution and that he you would be able to buy some sweat equity with that. The drivers were that we needed more space and we wanted to be homeowners.
Washington Park // Denver
“I’ve always been interested in real estate and I’ve worked for home builders in the past but I’ve always wanted to do it on my own, to do fix and flip type projects. This is my first one which is obviously exciting. It took a long time to find the right house to make it happen. Even after finding the right house, it was hard to find the right contractor. It’s kind of my first test to see if this could actually be a career moving forward, to do these on a regular basis. That was my hope, to get this one done and use the equity to do another one or sell it. My hope is to quit my normal job and do this, just buy houses and have someone else build them and hopefully make enough to survive off of it. I like the Denver area, I think there’s a lot of opportunity but I’m open to other markets as well.
“When we got engaged, we were living in an 800 sq ft rowhome and it was wonderful but moving in together and trying to blend our family, it was pretty tough because it was super tight. We’re trying to create a retirement plan for ourselves through real estate. The first property we got, I really didn’t even want to go see it. I was not excited about it at all. But then when you walked into it, it had such a great energy and it was so quaint and so cute and not much bigger than our row home but just enough space that we knew it would make a great rental property and also first home for us as a newly engaged couple. It was wonderful. It was 2 bedrooms, a loft and a bathroom. We had a huge yard which was really important to us so we had a huge garden. Then when we had her, it was really great for the first several months of life because her nursery shared a wall with our room so we never really felt like she was very far away. But when she got into the crawling phase of life, our home again began to feel pretty small and tight.
“I wanted the vibrance of the city . I wanted to be surrounded by the lights of the city. I get energy from the hustle and bustle. I think other people think they get energy from a place that’s sort of secluded or away from the hustle and bustle and I’ve never felt that way. Where I was living before was more suburban so I didn’t get that same energy. It was still in Denver but it certainly wasn’t downtown Denver.
Commerce City // Colorado
“We’re from all over. I grew up in New York and lived mostly on the east coast. I moved to Seattle when I was in the military. I hated Seattle, it wasn’t for me. We were living together in my basement apartment that I had for a while that was small and dark with spiders. Neither one of us really liked that so we decided to move into a luxury apartment. We got tired of paying an exorbitant amount of money to live in a pretty box. We came to Colorado to visit and there was something about CO that I just really loved. We made the decision together to move. It went really quickly once we made the decision literally in 6 weeks or less, we just made it happen and that was that.