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Old 10-22-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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Hello All,
I am a firefighter, I have three children, and my family and I are considering a move to Colorado. We are Chicago natives originally, have lived in Ft. Myers, Florida for the last seven years. We are done with Florida, tired of the climate, people, and the fact, that one is forced to spend summer months with the kids inside due to the heat, and extreme humidity, never got used to it, at all.
I have been offered a position in Lake Dillon, I am considering taking this job, my question is where do the middle class, public servants, and worker bees live? I have been researching Dillon, Silverthorn, and surrounding areas, and its unbelievablely expensive. We are looking for the same thing as everyone else, a nice family oriented area that is safe, to raise our kids, I will be finishing my Bachelors degree in executive management, therefore, I do not anticipate having a problem earning a living. But I am a little concerned about housing, any tips would be great, thanks to all in advance for taking your time in answering this question.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Yeah, everything along the I70 corridor there is going to be fairly exorbitant, although my feeling that Dillon itself may be a little less than Frisco of brack, but not much. Commuting from other towns along I70 would not do you much good, because they're all about the same until you get all the way down into Denver metro. Also, commuting from an Off-70 corridor town would not be a good idea due to the winter weather along those passes.

My recommendation is to look at places right in Dillon and see what you could maybe work out. It's all about trade-offs.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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For starters, I would do a search of this forum because just in the past month or two there has been a wealth of info posted about Summit County.

Understand the towns up there are not "normal" towns. Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco are support towns for the local ski areas providing lower cost accommodation, shopping and services.

And yes it is very expensive, not just the housing but everything else. You'll have to take stock of what your salary is and what you think you can afford. On a firefighters salary you wont be able to afford a detached home and a yard most likely. Most people that live there have at least two jobs, some as many as 4 jobs.

Regular middle class people live in Silverthorne, Dillon or Frisco. There is nowhere else to live that is a reasonable drive away.

In regards to your degree, quite honestly it aint worth much up there. The ski resorts in Colorado are a magnet for those "living the dream" and hence there are many Ph D's and Master degree folks working $10-$15 an hour jobs. It is actually a small population area and any "good" jobs are directly related to the ski industry or the real estate business, both of which in are in dire straits at the moment and people are getting laid off left or right. The few "good" jobs that exist take years to obtain and you have to work your way in. As an example my brother in law was making six figures in the real estate biz and he is still working but is not being paid. My sisters company has gone from 40 people to 5. So it's tough times for now and a long time yet out there.
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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Dillon is conveniently located in a 4-season tourist economy area ... a modest drive up the hill from Denver, so it's got a lot of Front Range condo and 2nd home owners there. Between the lake and mountain recreational action during the warm months, and the close proximity to a number of ski areas ... even public buses run to Keystone from Dillon, or it's a short drive up to Copper, and not far away from Breck ... or just over the Eisenhower tunnel to Loveland ... it's a great nexus of wintertime activity.

So the area is a resort driven economy, and that means resort type pricing for housing.

I know a number of folks that commute up from West Denver areas for their jobs up that way, but that's quite an undertaking in the winter months, and it also gets old during the warmer months with a 120 miles every day. You might be able to mitigate some of that travel if you're on for certain shifts and days, and then off for a few days ... if you can find a shared accomodation in the Dillon area and can tolerate being away from family during those days you're "on". Another possibility would be to find housing in the Silver Plume area, which is not too far away on the East approach to the Eisenhower tunnel. It's more low key, lower priced, and not targeted quite so much to resort/recreational trade as just over the tunnel.

Last edited by sunsprit; 10-22-2009 at 06:02 PM..
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
So the area is a resort driven economy, and that means resort type pricing for housing.

I know a number of folks that commute up from West Denver areas for their jobs up that way, but that's quite an undertaking in the winter months, and it also gets old during the warmer months with a 120 miles every day. You might be able to mitigate some of that travel if you're on for certain shifts and days, and then off for a few days ... if you can find a shared accomodation in the Dillon area and can tolerate being away from family during those days you're "on". Another possibility would be to find housing in the Silver Plume area, which is not too far away on the East approach to the Eisenhower tunnel. It's more low key, lower priced, and not targeted quite so much to resort/recreational trade as just over the tunnel.
Having driven 600,000 miles between Aspen and Denver and all points in between, I'd never recommend that. I don't think dealing with the stress of driving in those conditions all the time is worth it. Plus you also have to take in account what is the point of working in a ski/recreational town and paying all the costs involved in commuting if you can't enjoy what is in the local area by living there?
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:46 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,078,083 times
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Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Having driven 600,000 miles between Aspen and Denver and all points in between, I'd never recommend that. I don't think dealing with the stress of driving in those conditions all the time is worth it. Plus you also have to take in account what is the point of working in a ski/recreational town and paying all the costs involved in commuting if you can't enjoy what is in the local area by living there?
I wouldn't advocate doing this, I just pointed out that to some people the stress and downside is apparently worth it to have that mountain resort area job.

Look at all the people who do the commute from Leadville to Vail on a daily basis. I even knew folks who did a Denver-Vail daily commute for years until they were able to find "affordable" down-valley housing. Or people who do the Rifle area to Aspen daily commute because even the Basalt-Glenwood Springs corridor is still too expensive. In my view, neither of those groups get to really "enjoy" the benefits of the local recreational area other than they can claim to live in the mountains.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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Wink For love, if not money

Everyone here is basically right, and you should expect the trade off for living in a desirable, beautiful place in the mountains to be a high cost of living. It is obviously possible, but a determination if the sacrifices worth it to you and your family.

Without exactly knowing, I've heard that towns such as Frisco, CO are concerned with keeping such public servants as police and firefighters within the community. There may be various options in this regard if you look for them. Otherwise, people who work in these communities actually do live in and commute from such locations as Leadville and Fairplay, CO. It would be preferable to remain local if you could, and that means no further removed from Dillon than Frisco or Silverthorne; the commute come winter can be a challenge.

Which raises another issue. If used to Chicago then this may be nothing, but it sure isn't Florida. The average elevation among these communities is 9,000 plus feet. Compared to the Midwest you will surely enjoy more sun and, in some respects, a milder climate, but nevertheless expect long, cold winters, and a fair degree of snow. Also, if you haven't, consider our changing climate and what pine beetles have wrought.

These are resort communities, and you should expect that as well. Tourism is their bread and butter. That can lend a certain grace and beauty to the architecture, finer restaurants and more services than otherwise present. But the flip side is the transient nature of much of populace, that certain ambience, and crowds at times. It is what it is.

In short, you and your family might really enjoy your time in Summit County, perhaps never leaving. If money is your only objective you could probably do better elsewhere. But life is more than that, thus probably why you have the interest in the first place.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Colorado
1,893 posts, read 3,507,690 times
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Just a thought, certain neighborhoods in Breckenridge offer deed restricted homes - you have to work at least 30 hours/week in Summit County. It's their way of trying to provide "affordable" housing to professionals that actually live in the county. It helps to stabilize the neighborhoods with non-second home owners.

Does anyone know if other Summit County towns offer this? If so, prices may be more reasonable in Dillon or Silverthorne.

Best of luck on your potential move!
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:03 AM
 
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,771,807 times
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Lot of good points already made by others.

Nice/family-oriented = more expensive.

Commuting from Denver = brutal. Worst-case, you could commute from places like Georgetown, Alma, Kremmling, Leadville (25-45 minutes).

You stated that in FL you're cooped up inside during summer. Hope you're not going to be cooped up inside during the winters here. Winters are long, cold, and snowy. Some people underestimate winters here and end up getting tired of it quickly. I used to live in Chicago, but it is a different kind of winter here. If you don't like the cold/snow and don't have any wintertime outdoor hobbies, you can suffer.

Regarding deed-restricted housing, Breck does offer indeed offer it (the Wellington neighborhood). Right now none of the other towns do, although there are plans to offer them in Frisco and Silverthorne (still a few years down the line). In general prices go (from lower to higher): Dillon > Wildernest > Silverthorne > Summit Cove > Frisco > Breckenridge, with condos obviously being cheaper than single-family homes. You will find more single-family homes in Silverthorne (Willowbrook neighborhood has many families with young kids), Frisco, and Breck.

Why don't you ask the folks who are offering you the position about where they live and what they would recommend? Might be worthwhile talking to a local realtor too. They may sometimes know of places that are officially not on the market, but the owner may be thinking of selling.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:15 AM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,501,104 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
I wouldn't advocate doing this, I just pointed out that to some people the stress and downside is apparently worth it to have that mountain resort area job.

Look at all the people who do the commute from Leadville to Vail on a daily basis. I even knew folks who did a Denver-Vail daily commute for years until they were able to find "affordable" down-valley housing. Or people who do the Rifle area to Aspen daily commute because even the Basalt-Glenwood Springs corridor is still too expensive. In my view, neither of those groups get to really "enjoy" the benefits of the local recreational area other than they can claim to live in the mountains.
Oh I know of people that have done that, but I always say what is your time worth?

In most cases you have to work more than 40 hours a week anyways, so I don't think the savings you get on real estate really amount to all that much, once in you factor in time and expenses.

As an example I was looking at Eagle for rentals out of curiosity. You might save $250-$300 a month, but once you factor in all the commuting(especially in bad weather), the cost of gas and wear and tear, your personal time involved, I don't believe you come out ahead.
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