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Hi! I am looking to relocate to the area with a job at CSU, and I have read a lot concerning opinions on the area.
What I am currently looking for are daily details: cost of a gallon of milk, gasoline/gal, natural gas/electric for small - medium sized home, school fees (does it cost for public school out there?). I am relocating from a college town (Purdue University), so I am used to the typical college town costs. I will probably initially hope to find something small and reasonable ($750-850) to rent for the first year for myself and my daughter. I would love to be within walking distance of campus, but I don't want to be surrounded by college kids, either.
My daughter is going into the third grade, and I have checked your opinions on schools. Can anyone (elementary parents or teachers) tell me if there is a school that will match her current abilities: basic multiplication, reading chapter books, all school work done in cursive, beginning creative and scientific writing, beginning Spanish, advanced time-telling, accelerated spelling? She tests above a fourth grade level (some as high as 8th grade) on the standardized test given here in second grade. I have her in a private Christian school here, but I am open to public schooling, if they can match her at a challenging level. I am not sure about Charter Schools, since I haven't had much exposure to them. When does school start there? We are scheduled to go back the third week of August, but I am hoping to not have to time our relocation that closely!
Nothing is definite yet, but I wanted to get a first-hand feel for the area, if possible! Thanks in advance for any information you can offer!
Sorry I am one of the those lurkers (view but didn't immediately post) who happens to live in Ft Collins
To answer your questions:
-Regarding milk - I don't buy milk, so I couldn't tell you.
-Gas - hovering around $4 a gallon +/- .10-.20 cents depending on the station
-utilities - once again not much help on current figures as I live in an apt where utils are shared. Past experience from about 2 years ago was it is not bad. On a 1200 qs foot + basement (total of 2200 or so) I spent about $130 in the winter (natural gas) and about $30 in the summer (electric). I did NOT use an A/C in the summer hence the low bill.
-schools - once again not much help I do not have any children. However, I have heard, read that Poudre District is a very good school district. The existence of charter schools seems like it really allows you to cater to children of various levels of interests. The district is "choice" based so you can go to whatever school you wish - no boundaries AFAIK
-rent - if you rent an apt/townhouse or something your estimates are pretty accurate for a 1-2 bedroom. Depending on your needs (do you need a luxury apt setting?) you may need to add $200-300 to that estimate though. Getting near campus will not be a problem, however I am not sure how you can really avoid the "atmosphere" of college students if you are close The good thing is that if you stick to the core of the city for your residence you should be only a few minutes from campus due to the plethora of bike paths and off road bike/walking trails.
Sorry couldn't be of more help - maybe someone else can chime in. Good luck to you and welcome to the city!
Thanks for the input! Your information does help! I am not worried about "luxury" setting - I love older structures, and I would like to find a single family home to rent, but I understand that I will probably end up in an apartment for the first year! I just don't want to be surrounded with partying college kids with my seven year old daughter - I work on a campus now, so I am pretty familiar with the atmosphere! I would love to find something in the historic district, but it needs to be family-friendly. I expect to have to do some footwork when we get there!
Schools seems pretty well balanced in Fort Collins, I don't have any kids yet so I can't tell you for certain, but it's a small general area and one of the safest in the nations so I wouldn't worry too much. Check out the other threads btw.
It's a college town but not that much of a college town besides campus/old town thats about it, as you may know the population growth is partly from those that graduate and decide to remain in Fort Collins. Thus there is a good post-college crowd, mid-20s to early 30s. Most of the housing there is pretty new, a result of suburban sprawl so there are quite a few family homes, as your condition I may look into purchasing a 2 bedroom condo you can probably get it for the price of rent. If you want to rent first and get a feel perhaps an apartment, they are definetly in your range.
The great thing about Fort Collins is you can bike anywhere, there is also a great public transportation system centered around campus, during day time every bus will take you to campus within 15 minutes. I might say cost of rent/food/gas may be a lil more than Purdue but not by much, I could be wrong as well. I would go with Fort Collins over Loveland if you need to get to campus everyday.
I have friends who live in Fort Collins and sometimes do my shopping there when I'm in town, so perhaps I can help a bit. I tend to buy organic milk and I can buy it for about $3.50 gallon. If you want one of the brands like Horizon, it's about $4/1/2 gallon, but I buy Wholesome brand, which I like better and costs less.
Rent is more expensive in Fort Collins than some other areas. When I was looking for housing both there and in Greeley last year, I had a tough time finding a place for under $900 a month. I was hoping to find a 2 bedroom small house as I have 2 dogs. Dogs obviously make it more complicated as I wanted to avoid apartments. You'll likely be able to find something cheaper if you're not stuck on having a yard. The housing market hasn't "crashed" in Ft. yet. When I was looking, there were many 2-3 bedroom houses of very modest size selling for $220K or more.
You'll probably want to avoid the College Ave/Old Town area if you don't want to be around college kids, though there are some parts of that area that aren't college dominated. However, most of the spots that are free from college students are quite expensive!
The housing market hasn't "crashed" in Ft. yet. When I was looking, there were many 2-3 bedroom houses of very modest size selling for $220K or more.
Yeah - I am one of those people waiting on the sidelines for that crash to happen. Prices have stagnated over the last 2 years, but have not fallen all that much. I think this summer will be the turning point and prices will fall a bit (I hope). I can't see them going up anytime soon so even if I wait another year it just means more money down and a smaller mortgage. If I am lucky it will mean a very small mortgage if the market treats us buyers well
As for schools, there are some other threads on this topic. Poudre R-1 is known for being one of the best school districts in the state. Some say that the more affluent, suburban-style neighborhoods to the south in Fort Collins have somewhat better test scores than North Fort Collins, though I say that it's hard to find a truly "bad" school anywhere in Fort Collins.
You mentioned charter schools -- there are some very good ones in Fort Collins. In fact, one of the top rated schools in the state is Ridgeview Classical Schools, a charter school following the "classics" curriculum. When I lived in Fort Collins many of my friends were sending their kids to Trout, a charter elementary. But, if you choose a charter school, you'll need to determine if the philosophy of education (i.e., classical, core knowledge, montessori, arts-based, dual-language, etc) matches your own.
There is also a Christian school in town: Heritage, if you want to continue with Christian schools.
Thanks, guys, for all the input. It has definitely pointed me in the right direction!
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