There are some quirks about Colorado that you should know about. First, in Colorado Springs there are many school districts in town, not just one for the city and one for the county. I think District 20 is best, but some disagree. They have a local MLS with more pictures, www.ppar.com, search by town or school district.
Denver has it's own MLS also, and they usually include more pictures and info than the usuals like realtor.com.
Watch out for the HOA's, covenants and zoning. If you sign on the dotted line, or rent in an area the covenants and restrictions are strictly enforced. Places like Highland Ranch have a lot of rules, and they're not kidding either. The insider MLS's also include a lot of information about the status (foreclosure, bank-owned, or short sale), and there are extensive disclosures that home sellers must make. Before you buy or rent get the covenants and restrictions, because there's no point getting to the closing or rental agreement if you don't agree with the rules.
There is also the non-comforming bedroom or addition problem. Basement bedrooms must have full egress windows or they aren't legal bedrooms, and therefore non-conforming. A south facing driveway is the best for snow melt and shoveling.
Again, you all are amazing! Thank you for the information, we are sitting here researching until our head hurts! I have been to CO twice (Breckenridge and Silver Thorn), but DH has never been. It's been a place that I've felt drawn to from the moment I ever went. DH would be happy to head to WA, CA, UT, NM, NV, or AZ, but I'm worried the horsekeeping would be near impossible. We would be moving on our tax refund, NOT a lottery win so trying to keep my expectations REALISTIC, lol.
We'd probably have to start out in an apartment to begin with, but would like to buy a house ASAP. I have 2 horses, one in a stall and the other pasture. I live in eventing central right now and due to previously mentioned dead end job can only afford one competition per year :( I work hard, keep the boys in work, take lessons when I can, and just want to make sure the opportunity to get out and run around a T level course (and maybe some day P) is there. I haven't worked with a trainer in about 17 years, I just do it myself with the exception of clinics here and there.
Thanks so much for the input! I'm hoping there's still more info out there to be had!!
My husband and I did something similar in 2000. We packed up our two children and moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Idaho.
We didn't know anybody here. We didn't have jobs. We came up and house hunted for a week, went back to California and handled the whole house purchase long distance. We had a short escrow and from the time we came up to house hunt to the time we took possession of our new home was roughly 7 weeks.
I think the decision to relocate was one of the best we have ever made.
Well those places are all very, very different (having lived in many of them!) and there is a ton of variation within each state-NM-the major population is in the ABQ-sante fe corridor, and that is expensive, ABQ less so but that's because its a pit (crime, traffic, fumes). the culture is awesome, and of course the trail riding is fun (along the rio grande!). Sante Fe is an overpriced shopping mall but there are lovely small towns-Chama http://www.chamavalley.com/ is lovely but I would not be sure about schools or access to eventing stuff.Las Vegas (NM) is also a lovely small town, has a university there, again likely cheaper but probably not all the other amenities you might want (but really,really nice-not the tourist seeds like Sante or Reserve or Taos, or Cloudcroft).
Originally Posted by WideSquareAlter
If you want a nice small town with spectacular scenery that is not "discovered" as much as other places, those (in NM) would be my choice. South of ABQ and one thing you get a ton of is wind. a lot of it. scrub brush. Tucson is a lot nicer than Phx, but again, high crime, traffic, harder to get around (and I am a fan of tucson). I would think there would be lots of eventing kinds of things going on. There are also sonoita and patagonia south of Tucson, also lovely little towns http://www.patagoniaaz.com/ you will be in the thick of things with border politics, not sure about jobs. I also love the Flagstaff area but .that for sure isn't cheap. Good location, though, being right on I-40.
If you wanted to get into the whole vaquero cowboy thing, elko NV is certainly gorgeous! And lots and lots of awesome riding! And buckaroos! And the national cowboy poetry festival! I may not be remembering right but I am thinking NV has no state income tax.
Still think you could find cheaper boarding, event at Rebecca Farms and get decent schooling and so forth in Big Sky country, the last best place!!! :)
Doesn't EVERYONE talk distance in time, not miles? ;) Someone at Ohio Star Ball (from Boston) asked me if I lived close by as I said I was driving home, and I said "Not too far, about five hours." (Now, if I had a horse trailer, you'd make that 6-8. And that's just the Midwest!)
I do find New Englanders have the hardest time grasping the difference, because you can't drive two hours and be in four states!
I also forgot that a few cities or counties (around Denver) restrict pit bulls. I don't know if other areas do also. And I don't know how many animals you own, but the townhouse I had for a while restricted you to two dogs, or two cats or one of each, and no exotic animals. There were size restrictions also. Individual landlords are usually more liberal, but it depends on the management company or landlord.
Because of land costs many houses are two story, or bilevel, or trilevel instead of ranch houses. If a house is a short sale, foreclosure or whatever then the MLS should tell you. My understanding is that a lot of underpriced houses are out there, and the banks or lien holders are getting much faster about resales, so that might be a good way to go if you rent first. And if you definitely want to buy, then you might want to try for a six month apartment/house lease, even with a slightly higher rent, because that way if you find a short sale, etc you don't have to live out the lease, pay a lease and a mortgage for months or pay to break the lease (some leases demand full payment if you move early for the length of the lease). My realtor also owned a bunch of rentals, and for his buyers would lease month to month for his prospective buyers, because they were buying through him anyway.
I agree with the school Dist comment. Our son is in D20. The other district that is progressive is D38 in Monument. IMO, you do not want to live in the south end of CS.
Originally Posted by JanM
And yes to the housing comments. We just sold our townhouse. The rule on pets was 1 dog and 1 cat; not 2 cats or 2 dogs. There are 4 to 5 times that a buyer can back out of a sale; covenants and the home inspections are included in that.
If you decide to come out, sent me a PM and I'll give you all the infor I can think of. It's a tough decision!
If you are coming to Colorado, Douglas county is the perfect place. Great schools, good horse community & easy access to shopping/entertainment. Compared to the East & West coast it is a good choice, plus your dollar goes much further here. The climate is really nice here, rarely are we too cold or too hot. There is only a handful of days that you can't ride outside or ride period. Plus we have nice shows within a 30 min drive, if that. I have had the chance to live on both coast & I keep coming back to the Douglas county area.
As far as pet rules they are pretty reasonable. Heck we have 6 dogs (mutts) & 3 cats that live in the house; not including the random barn cats that come & go.
Elizabeth is another nice town just a little bit further east of Denver.
Another thing you may (or not) want to consider is that CS is mostly a very conservative area. The further north the more liberal. It's just a comment that may not matter to you.
I suggest you find jobs first and move where you can find them. The non dead end jobs, if you are over 50 you are in for a big shock. It was not so nice and uplifting for us, of that I can assure you.
You definitely want to stay on the Eastern Slope side, with Colorado Springs, Denver, etc. Crossing mountain passes with a horse trailer can be awful in winter, and with tourists in summer it's not fun either sometimes. Plus, Denver has many world class hospitals, all looking for employees, and a some commuter light rail. I think Denver/Parker is the area you want for the horses and the job market. And if anyone wants colleges they certainly have those in the Denver area also.
The unemployment rate in Colorado is still above 8%. I am not sure where these jobs are that folks a touting. The average rental rate is around $1,050 per month for apartments.
Yes, the oil industry is growing here but again it is a highly specialized worker they want or they want low pay high risk. Additionally, the oil industry is destroying the horse industry by taking farms (in Colorado the owner of the land does NOT own the underlying minerals or water. They are all segregated). Thus oil companies can place wells on private property without compensation.
As for claims that hay and feed are cheaper, again I have no idea where they come from. Most hay growers and dealers I know along the front range are charging $15 and up a bale for grass and $12 and up for alfalfa. I bought my hay for home from MT. I could not get anything cheaper in CO. My buddy, who is a hay dealer in Parker/Elizabeth, said their prices will hit $21 a bale this month due to the drought. Parker and Elizabeth are about 1 hour south east of Denver.
As for hospitals looking for employees, yes, at the low end of pay scale. We are saturated with folks looking for higher paying jobs that don't exist. This is the reality as I am 6 months into looking for a job here. I wouldn't even think about moving here unless I had jobs in hand.
Ditto the comments about considering NM and AZ, too. I adore New Mexico, have lots of relatives there. I don't know as much about AZ, but drove through it this spring and was enchanted by the scenery. I know, not much practicality in that comment...
Lots of places "Out West" to consider. Times are tough all over -- I'm sure you know that and consider all your options. It's not as awful as RAyers paints it. Not true that a landowner doesn't own his land's mineral rights -- every case is different. Some do, some don't. Previous owners of the land may have opted to retain the mineral rights, some sell them with the surface rights. I have connection to ranch land in SE Colorado -- we discovered the ranch owns about half its mineral rights.
Feed prices are high because of the drought -- a temporary condition, we can all hope.
Dare I mention Central Texas? The Austin area has a 5.3% unemployment rate. I just bought my hay for $9 per bale coastal square bales, and $16 for very heavy bales alfalfa. It is HOT June, July, August, and the first two weeks of Sept. in general, and the rest of the year is moderate. It is a beautiful area and as for buying property or housing, you get more bang for your buck. We have the Gulf of Mexico a couple of hours away. There is a Central Texas Eventing group..check Facebook or for a website.
I made the move from the East coast twice. The first one, back in the late 70's to Colorado, and the second one, from East coast to Texas 15 years ago. I love it.
Just a thought.
DH and I did just this. Last August we finally closed on our house in NC, packed up a uHaul and the truck and trailer and drove west. A week later, we closed on a house in between Boulder and Longmont and we had only seen it once.
Originally Posted by WideSquareAlter
We brought our jobs with us.
I board my horse at farm in Firestone, east of I25 and it's about a 20-25 minute drive. We have 3 trainers and one is an event trainer.
I can't comment on the school systems because we aren't having kids. So that wasn't an important feature for us when looking at houses.
Hay is terribly expensive right now and people are hoarding it like crazy!
Originally Posted by High Ho Silver
And yet I have still not met you. :)
Originally Posted by dani0303
I have to disagree that it's cheaper here than NC. We moved from a suburb of Raleigh and we sold a much nicer house there for much less than what we bought here. Our lot is smaller, the house needs work... but it's what we could afford. There is a big difference in the Boulder County area and Greeley... not saying one is better than the other, but that's the reality. We could have bought more house and newer the further out we went, but we moved here to be close to the mtns, biking, hiking, backpacking and such and you have to pay the price for that.
We couldn't rent because we have 2 big dogs and couldn't find anyone to rent to us in the area we wanted to live in. Grass is expensive here and people don't want renters messing up their lawns. It's true. And an apt was not an option for us.
I do agree that I love it out here and am happier all around.
OMG, the non conforming bedroom thing. Ack. We are looking to finish our basement and it will cost an extra 2K to make the egress window well compliant with the new code. It's a 2 foot, apparently it now has to be a 3 foot in order to be considered a bedroom. And if we put in a closet, then it's automatically a bedroom and we have no choice but to do the work on the window.
Originally Posted by JanM
Agreed. I wouldn't move anywhere with out a job.
Originally Posted by RAyers
One piece of advice. Have your horse shipped professionally. DH and I used the space in our horse trailer to move. We had the mare shipped by a professional and she arrived on a 18-wheeler with air ride suspension... a much nicer ride than what she would have had in my bumper pull. :) It would have been too much to add the horse to the mix of two big dogs and a cat.
Originally Posted by WideSquareAlter
It is an amazing feeling to make such a change. It's scary and exhilarating all at the same time. It's brought us much closer together because it's just us out here. Sure we've made friends along the way, but we have no family here. When we moved we knew exactly 6 people in the entire state, including our realtor. :)
Our family and close friends couldn't believe we were actually doing it. My in laws, who lived a mile from us in NC, stood firm that we were not leaving, even as we loaded the trucks and pulled away from our old home. My mother in law still does a drive by of our old house weekly. It's been almost a year and a half since we moved.
Good luck in your research and move. If you need anything or any information on the Boulder area, just PM me.
The wagon train headed west. (Stopped for the night at the grandparents house in KY)
Actually, I'm not sure I would move anywhere without a job, and for me that's not a new idea. You can apply for jobs, and make it clear that moving to the area is definitely happening. It all depends on what you do for a living, and how in demand it is. I do know several people who relocated and were hired before they moved, with the understanding that they would move and be there by the start date, and that they were commited to being long-term residents.
And the restrictions on dogs/cats/pets were unique to my townhouse HOA, every one is different. My house was located in an area without an HOA, and though it meant a neighbor painted her house lavender with dark purple trim one day (while I was at work, and I thought my eyes were deteriorating when I first saw it), it also meant that no one came by and whined about having my trash can outside after dark either. Some HOA's are just for things like park maintenace or trash removal (in the Springs everyone gets their own company, or did when I lived there), and others have a list of regs that you can hardly believe.
YES; I spent 4 years in Fort Collins and would move back in a heartbeat. Granted, it's been a few years since I've lived there, but I was able to keep my horses 10 minutes away on a student's salary and compete regularly. Lots of barns up there, for all types of disciplines, and only 1-2 hour's drive from most of the big venues (Parker, Estes Park, NWSS).
Originally Posted by WideSquareAlter
If I was able to find a reliable job in my field, I would move back in a heartbeat. Or if my husband could find a reliable job in his field there, I'd move back and find a job in whatever I could get.
Even though my husband and I made a big move without having work lined up first, I do think it is important to at least research employment in any area you're interested in relocating to.
We didn't do that when we moved. Even though we were in our mid/late-30's at the time we made the move, I consider us to have been fairly naive about that stuff. It never dawned on us that employment would be any different in Idaho than it was in urban California.
If we had done some research we would have discovered that although there was a lot of work available here, most of it was part-time and minimum wage. The kind of work I had done in California (mental health) was almost unheard of here, and the one or two agencies that offered it had "de-professionalized" it to the point of it being a minimum wage babysitting-type position. And I had never even heard "Right To Work State" before moving here! It was a rude awakening.
Relocating was still the right choice for us, but we were able to support our family without having jobs. And we have adjusted to altered employment opportunities. But I am not sure if we would have still chosen Idaho if we had known how fundamentally different working in this state is.
Research, research and research some more.
Perhaps. But as a professor at two universities and who also has a start up company here, I am seeing lots of students looking out of state for jobs and lots of out of state companies hiring. Our own career centers show limited job growth in CO. Other than oil and coal, the job market in CO is not growing. Health care, defense and others are stagnant. Colorado's economy usually lags the national economy by 1-2 years so as current forecasts by the state indicate, job growth is expected to be around 1%.
Originally Posted by ThreeFigs
Maybe it is not that bad, but is sure is not better than other places in the US. The cost of living is higher here than Texas and the surrounding states. And at one point we had one of the highest costs of living in the US behind CA, NY and IL. To be able to own a home in the area, the minimum wage suggested was $60K-$70K annual.
As for things such as water and mineral rights if you live in suburbia and along most of the front range forget it. Water rights are all tied up and even if you can, you still are subordinate to senior users. This is why we had water wars in the past. To be able to afford land, you will need to way east (e.g. Kansas). Along the front range (Ft. Collins down past Denver to C. Springs) the average cost is $100,000 per acre undeveloped. You can get cheaper the farther away you go (about 70 miles out east).
I admit. I am tired of folks going on about how great it is to live here without telling what is really happening. I was born and raised here and my family has been here for 75+ years (we get Pioneer status license plates), and I have yet to see things as bad as they are now. Yes, we are recovering.