The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: V on September 30, 2014, 07:51:02 AM

Title: Land in Colorado
Post by: V on September 30, 2014, 07:51:02 AM
Hello everyone.  I posted a while back about my husband and I looking into moving out West. Well we have decided that the end of October 2015 is when we will take the plunge and move to Colorado.  Currently we are thinking that the Colorado Springs area is our best choice for jobs and housing costs, but we would really like to buy some land and build our own home.  We know that land in Colorado Springs is expensive, but I was hoping to see if any of you have advice on areas outside of Colorado Springs that might be cheaper.  We would prefer to be within a 30 minute commute to downtown, but might be willing to go a little further.  We have never lived in a climate where snow is an annual occurrence, so driving more than 30 minutes to get to work makes us nervous. Do any of you have suggestions on cities/town we should look into?
Title: Re: Land in Colorado
Post by: megaschnauzer on September 30, 2014, 09:18:29 AM
will you still be working? a 30 minute commute would suck especially in bad weather. why not denver? don't they have a rail system? you could live close to the station. or even a vacant lot in town. urban infill is the way to go.
Title: Re: Land in Colorado
Post by: mboulder on September 30, 2014, 01:32:08 PM
It depends what you are looking for with respect to "land". As in, a half acre near a town/suburban area where you can build a home but still be close to amenities? Do you want a mountain property? Are you looking for several acres in hopes of never seeing your neighbor?

In general, mountain properties within commuting distance to the Front Range will cost you money and also a lot in the way of logistics. Weather commuting can be bad. The highways leading from major population centers will have a ton of traffic, especially on weekends (just google I70 weekend traffic if you want to hear about the nightmares. Highway 24 our of CS gets bad, too), and even worse in bad weather. I know some folks who retired about 45 minutes outside of Boulder in a little place called Allenspark. I asked them why there are so many homes for sale near them, was it hard winters? Loneliness? No, they said. It's the fact that you have to drive 30+ minutes one-way to get to a grocery store. Or your job. Or to get to a county office. Or your doctor. Or your mechanic. Or any other errand you need to run. Then double that time when roads are bad. Then even more if you want to do something in Denver like go to a show or go to the airport. My friends tell me that that constant driving just wears people down and so they move after a few years.

Then consider wildfire risk. Look up the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires of recent years. You can (mostly) protect yourself from fires with a bit of work, but it is hard work, and a lot of residents don't like to do it because it feels like you are cutting down the forest that was the whole reason you moved there in the first place. Many don't do such a good job. Hundreds of homes were lost in those two fires alone and scientists speculate that the frequency of fires is increasing.

The romantic notion gets outweighed by the reality a lot. However, if you and your husband are of the rugged ilk, as well as patient, not in a hurry - like I suspect many on this forum are - you can find a place out here and be really happy. It's not for everyone but it could really be for you.

Now if you were at or close to retirement it may be a different story as you can plan to maximize trips and minimize tedious necessities like driving into town. I would suggest, before plunging into the expensive real estate market, is to rent for a while and see if it suits your needs. If you are set on Colorado Springs, I'd suggest looking into Woodland Park, it's about a half hour drive away and a few people I know who live there think it is nice.

If you aren't tied to the Springs but still want something Front Range, I'd look into Fort Collins. Just my preference - I like the energy better than Co Springs (CS has a reputation for lots of military, conservative politics, evangelical leanings, which is great if that suits your lifestyle and beliefs, but personally not my cup of tea). Then you can look for places towards Rist Canyon, some nice areas up towards the Poudre Canyon/Redfeather Lakes/Laporte, even down towards Loveland like Masonville. I don't know what the job situation/housing costs are like for Fort Collins vs Colo Springs but it's worth taking a look.

Good luck! Colorado is a great place.
Title: Re: Land in Colorado
Post by: waltworks on September 30, 2014, 01:39:43 PM
If you are asking these questions, you are in way over your head. Move there and rent for a year in town and explore. When/if you find a place you want to live, come back and ask these questions again.

-W
Title: Re: Land in Colorado
Post by: Prepube on September 30, 2014, 09:37:32 PM
If you are asking these questions, you are in way over your head. Move there and rent for a year in town and explore. When/if you find a place you want to live, come back and ask these questions again.

-W
+1

I've lived here all my life.  The areas you are talking about are all very different and "land" is very different from place to place.  I own A piece of an office building in downtown Denver, land west of Colorado Springs, and I own a house on some land west of Denver.  The Denver/Lakewood/aurora/englewood, etc. areas and surrounds iare not more expensive to live in than Colorado Springs (where I grew up) so I'm not sure where your info is coming from.  Colorado Springs is very conservative, and recently they have had lots of trouble with mismanagement of the city coffers (they even turned off most of the street lights one year because they couldn't afford the electric bills).  The public transportation there is awful.  30 minutes north and you are in Castle Rock, where you'll find a county with one of the most expensive and highest average incomes in the US.  30 minutes south and you're in Pueblo or close to Fort Carson.  Yuck.  30 minutes east and you will die from the boredom of the plains and never get to work in the winter because of the way the wind whips the snow around.  30 minutes west and you are up in the mountains with a real bitch of a winter commute.  You really need to move here, rent, and see for yourself what these places are all about.  Move to MMM s area... It is probably one of the nicest front range communities. 
Title: Re: Land in Colorado
Post by: act01 on October 01, 2014, 12:11:57 AM
I would also suggest renting and exploring. CO could practically be divided into eight states, all with their own feel. Mountain life is totally different from life on the plains. Even the cities totally contrast - conservative (CO Springs or Greeley), liberal (Boulder), busy city life, rural/farm communities, mountain life, tech-friendly, retired farmers, college towns...

It's been a while since I lived out there (but visit a lot)... there is so much growth happening (it's amazing the communities along I-25 that were all ranches 20 years ago). So I don't know what the difficulties are in finding land. There's a lot of oil and gas drilling (that's pretty new, also) competing for land.