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Old 09-03-2015, 06:20 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,414 times
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Am needing local help. My family (husband and two boys-8,2) have been relocated from South Louisiana to the Denver area. The housing market is CRAZY here and with our budget it has proven to be unsuccessful in finding something that meets all our needs in good school districts in the Denver surrounding areas.

We are thinking of moving into a mountain town, perhaps Bailey or Pine. My husband has lived in cold weather before, but, I have never even SEEN snow! I am always up for a new adventure but am always too optimistic. We want to be realistic in choosing a home. My family is very active and hyper so living in a condo would seem out of the question. The boys need space to play. And I love the woods.

Is it unrealistic to live in those towns if you have a car?

What exactly are the downsides of well water?

Does the internet work in the mountains, I work from home?

How long does it take to clear snow if you live in the mountains?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Edgewater, CO
531 posts, read 912,045 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirandawrites View Post
Am needing local help. My family (husband and two boys-8,2) have been relocated from South Louisiana to the Denver area. The housing market is CRAZY here and with our budget it has proven to be unsuccessful in finding something that meets all our needs in good school districts in the Denver surrounding areas.

We are thinking of moving into a mountain town, perhaps Bailey or Pine. My husband has lived in cold weather before, but, I have never even SEEN snow! I am always up for a new adventure but am always too optimistic. We want to be realistic in choosing a home. My family is very active and hyper so living in a condo would seem out of the question. The boys need space to play. And I love the woods.

Is it unrealistic to live in those towns if you have a car?
Just the opposite. It's unrealistic to live in those areas if you don't have a car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirandawrites View Post
What exactly are the downsides of well water?
It's possible the well wouldn't produce enough water. There are restrictions on the well permit with what you can and cannot do with the water. It's possible the well isn't suitable to drink water from. Test the water in the well, and read the permit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirandawrites View Post
Does the internet work in the mountains, I work from home?
Depends on where. Some communities have DSL from the phone company. Some have a rural WISP (Wireless ISP). Some only have access via satellite. If it's satellite Internet, expect to pay lots of money for high latency and bandwidth caps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirandawrites View Post
How long does it take to clear snow if you live in the mountains?
I imagine this varies greatly by community. The closer you live to a major road, the quicker the snow is cleared. We have property in an area of Park county that is far more rural than Bailey, and snow is cleared by the county in no more than 3 days.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:20 PM
 
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Here is a primer for high country living. It will acquaint you with the issues.
http://www.co.gilpin.co.us/Newslette...ochureform.pdf
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:44 PM
 
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Is it unrealistic to live up there with just a car, not a 4wd drive truck or suv? Is that what you meant? If so, it depends as others said on if you live on state and county snowplowed roads or on roads where you or the neighborhood do the clearing or pay someone to do it. It is possible in many spots, especially with snow tires and the ability to wait for plowing. But if you are on a private road and have to commute early or late, you might want a more snow capable vehicle and learn how to do it right.

If you want country living / lower prices but an easier drive in winter, you might consider Roxborough Park.

My impression from brief web search is that Bailey and Pine should have internet access from several providers (CenturyLink, BlazeWifi, others). Maybe not everywhere and probably not near as fast as big city but not as limited or dismal as say 5 yrs ago.

Last edited by NW Crow; 09-03-2015 at 08:00 PM..
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:34 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,375 posts, read 39,695,573 times
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Does DH work from home? Will he have to commute?

sorry... not gonna be cheaper in the Mtns.
you will need a car (truck) / Subie if you have kids to haul around.

Alternative..
.(for cheap / economy) get a 'working position' (cooking / maintenance) at a camp / church facility that comes with free housing (at least for the winter during 'off-season'). Plenty of room for kids to play. We homeschooled and did that on an island in Canada for a yr. SIL did it for 10+ yrs (Estes Park / Allenspark). I know of several camps in Estes Park area where families live and work on staff. Often there are extra cars for staff to use. It is a pretty good quality of life for the kids. (no TV!), rural schools can be GREAT! (for younger kids Pay is dismal... be grateful for a drafty cabin! (and plenty of free firewood)!

Works best if you can do your job at late night and during mid morning (faster DSL when folks are sleeping / working). Do you need VPN? Very tough to do VPN via Satellite.

Summers (high season, you can get creative on where to live, camp housing may be 100% occupied) travel if possible, or come down to town (college towns can have affordable vacancies in summer).
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Old 09-04-2015, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Edgewater, CO
531 posts, read 912,045 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
sorry... not gonna be cheaper in the Mtns.
This is a fair point.

Houses might be cheaper in a mountain community, but you might make up for it with increase in transportation costs and other goods. Distances are greater in the mountains and you will need to drive to the grocery store. The roads are also harder on the car since you're constantly going up and down. More wear and tear, especially on brakes.
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:46 AM
 
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You didn't mention where in "the Denver area" your husband's workplace is located.

But a daily commute from Bailey or Pine could be an significant expense in time and transportation costs, especially if the job location isn't on the side of town where he'd be commuting from.

Also, be aware that winter time driving conditions can present for 4-5-6 months of the year in the mountains for his commute to Denver. While many people do these commutes, it comes with risks for traffic jams and/or your own accidents. One can be caught in situations where the commute time can be 2-3-4 times the normal dry weather time for travel, resulting in a couple of hours to reach a Denver destination from the mountains.

In addition, one must factor in all the costs of access to the things you want to do. Consider that you'll be do a lot of traveling for entertainment, medical, groceries, routine house maintenance and repair items, shopping, and even your recreation needs for your children. The "savings" by purchasing a lower cost house in the mountain areas may more than be offset by the costs of living there. Don't forget ongoing expenses such as utilities may be significantly higher cost than in suburban areas around Denver, and you'll be looking at more heating-degree days in the winter months than at the lower elevations on the plains near Denver.

You also mention "good schools" as being a priority. The rural school districts don't have the funding to provide the programs that are available in the metro area districts with their higher density populations and larger tax base.

Snow removal is a relative term. Colorado's climate does a lot of the snow reduction via sunshine and dry air movement, and it's a normal tactic in the area to depend upon that to take place rather than plow everything in a short time frame. At that, plowing doesn't scrape the road to a dry condition, it can just level the snowpack to a passable condition by a capable car/truck/SUV. Much will depend upon where you locate in the mountain areas and how accessible your driveway is to a county road. Living close to a school bus route will tend to get more frequent plowing sooner, but the priority is to get the roads into a passable condition with appropriate vehicles, not to make them clean clear and dry for all vehicles. Keep in mind that black ice formation is common in the mountain areas where sunshine can melt snow which can refreeze almost instantly to a thin ice layer, making for difficult driving conditions. If you're really paying attention over a winter or two, you'll learn which shaded areas of the roadways will tend to form the ice layer in the conditions favorable to them forming, and the temperature ranges & sunshine which prevail to those conditions.

An AWD car is pretty handy to have in these areas for normal driving. Subie's are pretty popular, but by no means the only cars that are suitable. Some folk will get around pretty well with a FWD car, too. And accept that there will be times where it's simply best to heed the road condition reports and stay put until the roads improve. This will apply to your personal driving as well as your husband's commute requirements. Keep in mind that there's a huge variance in skill levels in play here; folk who are competent drivers with decades of experience driving in these conditions will take more adverse roads/weather in stride while a "newbie" will be seriously challenged to be out on the roads at all. It's intimidating to be out on the roads in inclement conditions when you're comfortable, prudent, and safest going rather slowly and the folk with a lot of experience are blasting past you are obviously held up; the temptation to drive over your abilities/vehicle abilities is very strong and this is how a lot of folk get into trouble on the roads here. Best to do as much as you can to be pro-active ... get an appropriate vehicle and proper winter tires to put the chances of success in your favor. But understand that driver skill and experience with prudent driving are paramount to getting around in adverse inclement weather/road conditions.

PS: with the recent history of major losses due to fires in the Colorado area, residential insurance rates have skyrocketed in the last few years. When looking at a mountain house, one needs to inquire about the nearest fire hydrant (if any), the local fire department services, fire equipment access/routes, the pro-active fire safety management of a given residential site, and so forth. For a site buried "in the trees" without good access and a lower rated roof/site, one may find you'll get very high quotes for insurance coverage. When it works out to several hundred dollars per month higher than a suburban location residential coverage, it's a big impact on the true cost of your mountain housing.

PPS: years ago, "mountain living" was a luxury expense for many residents who made the lifestyle choice to live there and commute to Denver for employment. IMO, it still is. Overall, I think you'll find the trade-offs may be worth it personally to you and your family, but it's unreasonable to expect that it will cost you less to live in the mountains than in many Denver suburbs with the amenities that you want or take for granted.

Last edited by sunsprit; 09-04-2015 at 10:11 AM..
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:31 PM
 
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*As far as having a car, I meant as in an actual car, not a 4WD or AWD vehicle.

Thanks so much everyone!!! After serious consideration we have decided to forego mountain living for now. Maybe once we get used to the snow we will reconsider. Everyone who took the time to respond is greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:23 AM
 
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So glad to hear you decided to forego moving into the mountains. I think one of the most common thing I tell people around the country when they are struggling in retirement is "You can't afford rural life, move into the suburbs, it is cheaper".

Expect to make some compromises in what you want. Determine what is most important and focus on that. In my experience, the best school district will occasionally stand out. The worst school district will almost always stand out. The 80% that are in between will have much more variation in price and the quality of the schools won't be half bad. It is only the worst districts that need to be avoided. In a hundred schools, the difference between 25th and 75th isn't as large as the difference between from 1st to 15th or from 85th to100th.
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Old 09-11-2015, 06:32 AM
 
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If you're looking at a commute to Denver to try to find more affordable housing, west would not be a good direction to head, generally speaking. If you have a specific housing budget in mind, people may be able to direct you. Also, what do you consider "good schools"? Are you going on test scores alone? If so, I might suggest expanding your criteria - there are many decent schools that aren't known for top standardized test scores yet still have great programs and teachers.
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