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Old 02-01-2018, 08:22 PM
Location: Honolulu
3 posts, read 2,436 times
Reputation: 13


I currently live in Honolulu and it has gotten much, much too hot/humid, super expensive, crowded and isolated for me here. I have been looking to relocate due to a change in my personal situation and have been seriously considering moving to Colorado.

I specifically did research on locations with a cool, dry, sunny climate, access to nearby natural wonders, some open minded, liberal/progressive populations and enough business/growth to support my profession in the building trades (architect). I have visited Co a few times in the last couple of years for work, play (skiing) and to check things out. I initially thought about the Front Range including Golden, Loveland, Longmont, Fort Collins but am having seconds thoughts due to hearing about concerns with increased levels of growth, traffic.

I am really not that interested in having access to city or luxury items and am looking to live with less, more simply and to reduce costs and impacts. I prefer a smaller, unpretentious, less expensive town and a more community minded, mellow, mindful, authentic and sincere experience. I am also interested in buying a small property and building a very modest, super efficient (1000 s.f home) somewhere. My recent thinking was to live closer to recreation opportunities (skiing, hiking, camping) as opposed to "getting in line" on I-70 every weekend. I like the Frisco/Dillon area for direct access to recreation and basic access to services but the prices of real estate already seem blown out and some of the architectural design restrictions dont jive with my humble ideas. This area may work for job prospects though as I am experienced with high end custom homes and possible work in nearby Breck, Vail, Aspen. (yes, this is somewhat of a personal conflict, contradiction!)

Current thought would be to initially live/work/rent in the Frisco/Silverthorne area to see if I like it, to establish contacts and to take a year or so to scope out the adjacent areas for a small lot to build on. Throwing the net out from there as I really dont know that much about adjacent or alternate locations in Co.

Am I crazy wanting to start all over again in my mid 50's with no personal contacts in Co or am I just adventurous? I would sincerely appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

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Old 02-02-2018, 06:02 AM
5,327 posts, read 7,183,418 times
Reputation: 5077
I guess it is about how risk averse you are. Sounds like you're pretty adventurous. The type of areas you're interested in sound mostly pretty expensive to me. Are you in a financial situation where you can be adventurous without it ruining your golden years if it doesn't work out? I wonder about a place like Pagosa Springs or maybe Westcliffe for you as alternatives to where you're already thinking. I am not sure how the architecture business works - can you make inroads quickly without having good contacts here?
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:48 AM
13,297 posts, read 25,491,832 times
Reputation: 20410
How about the Ridgway area, with possible clients up in Telluride? The Ridgway community and area sounds like what you are looking for in type of community. Incredible access to all those outdoor things, no traffic, and serious money up in Telluride.

Disclaimer- I am retiring to Ridgway in April and am building a 820 sq.ft. house. I've vacationed there since 1988, and have seen very progressive changes and more coming. It's very livable. Small houses (NOT "tiny houses") are a coming idea, especially in town due to lot size. My builder is very interested in focusing on smaller houses. Ridgway is a very progressive community and I think could interest OP a lot. Please feel free to DM me.
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:59 AM
Location: Colorado
2,561 posts, read 5,012,706 times
Reputation: 2223
Have you considered the Manitou Springs, Conifer or Bailey areas? I was looking at lots as well as existing inventory in those places.Prices generally tend to be tamer with room for appreciation and all those areas have great local access to nature,hiking ect and would support future growth in your field.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:03 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
3,061 posts, read 2,090,382 times
Reputation: 3567
On the surface, your request seems to be at odds with its self in the need to be near clients offset by the desire to live remote. I'm sure there is a fair percentage of clients you will do work for that will not live in the same locale as yourself, but I think a more remote living location can make meetings, site visits, and plan reviews, etc. more challenging. I'd imagine there may also be issues of hanging out your own shingle of services vs being associated with an established firm already local to a major metro in CO. Maximizing views in electronic media, securing clients, and setting up work can be done remote, but eventually it will involve face to face time which can translate into becoup' travel expenses for yourself.

I bring this up because population density in Colorado is much different than Hawaii. You current home state is around 200 per sq mile while your proposed home is around 52 per square mile. Hawaii is around 11,000 sq mile while Colorado is over 104,000. That is a huge difference.

Now, at your age you may have established clientele and a reputation that can carry you into high end residential regardless of your physical location. I don't know that part of the work well at all. It also can be said that the majority of high end customers for CO residential areas probably not residents of of the state either, but I'm sure a percentage will be. No matter where they are from, you are going to be doing some significant travelling.

You are never too old to try to mix it up and start over. You seem to have the attitude to make it work.
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Old 02-02-2018, 12:10 PM
Location: Honolulu
3 posts, read 2,436 times
Reputation: 13
Thank you all for your responses, I really appreciate it!

My intent is to not specifically be in a remote location and prefer to be part of a neighborhood/community but also realize that escaping high costs & pretense may likely include not being centrally located.
Trying to find a sweet spot between access to work and a desired smallish community.

I am unlikely to hang my own shingle out as my business chops and networking skills are not necessarily my strength. My dream job situation would be to connect with like-minded builders, suppliers, clients who are interested in small efficient homes and in particular building with Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS). SIPS are engineered building panels that simplify and reduce on-site labor needs and create structures that are very energy efficient. I personally think there is a lot of interest in ditching the pretense and crafting small, functional homes for humble, reasonable, balanced and connected living.

My working budget is approx. $100K for a 1/3 to acre lot and say $250K for the 1000 s.f home including some specialized energy efficient systems (geothermal heating, pv, etc.)
Funding is currently dependent on a settlement and I intend to keep my retirement nest egg (401K) intact so as to not unnecessarily jeopardize my future.
Depending on how it goes it may require a sequential process; land, then basic structure, final fit out.

I will definitely check out the areas you all suggest and appreciate any continued/ additional input.

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Old 02-02-2018, 12:34 PM
13,297 posts, read 25,491,832 times
Reputation: 20410
Oh, can I ever see you in Ridgway. A four-gate airport 24 miles away, a 50-minute flight to Denver. A view lot in town (not a subdivision or HOA, town water/sewer/trash pickup) in the $70s. I'd love to see SIPS gain some ground.
I continue the disclaimer that I am biased in favor of Ridgway for OP for every reason.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:34 PM
3,830 posts, read 4,008,636 times
Reputation: 2582
Canon City and Salida made some moves towards welcoming truly tiny homes. Not that much has actually happened though.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:52 PM
13,297 posts, read 25,491,832 times
Reputation: 20410
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
Canon City and Salida made some moves towards welcoming truly tiny homes. Not that much has actually happened though.
OP is talking about "small homes," not truly tiny (less than 400 sq.ft. and technically RVs).

Every time I mention to anyone that my new house is small, they ask me if I've seen tiny homes. I saw them right in the beginning of them being online. In fact, in the 1990s, I looked into a 400 sq.ft. house to be delivered to my lot outside of Ridgway, and found out that it was considered an RV and not allowed (sold the lot). To me, an RV is a motorhome, that you drive around from the inside. But no. If you have a prefab 400 sq.ft. home built and delivered on a flatbed truck and put on a real foundation, it's still an RV by definition and can be placed almost nowhere.

I wish I understood why people got so excited about them, rather, I hope never to have to explain this to anyone again when talking about my 820 sq.ft. house in Ridgway!
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:29 PM
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
3,184 posts, read 7,037,431 times
Reputation: 6570
I will second to brightdoglover's bias towards Ridgway. It's a beautiful area and seems to have many of the attributes you are looking for.

Summit County, Eagle County, Pitkin County (Frisco, Vail & Aspen areas, respectively) are very expensive. 1/3 acre for 100k would be a gift and 250k might get you a destroyed condo. The plus to those areas is there are a lot of remodels, some scrapes and new builds that would utilize your skills, pay can be very good if you are on your game. My suggestion is to apply at some firms and network all leads to see where you can land for a while, see what you think of the area and go from there.
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