Starting to research homesteading in Colorado. anyone here

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by jana, May 4, 2004.

  1. jana

    jana New Member

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    in Colorado?

    My husband and I and our 20 month old and -3month old are looking to transition out of Denver to a more rural setting. My husband is more open to moving out of state than I am - but this is my home and I have lived here for most of my life. I really like the Western Slope and we visit there each year, I have family in Parachute so we have bumped around that area as well.

    To be honest, while the desire to homestead is hardly a new one to either of us, the decision to do it in two years was reactionary to just crap that happens in the city. I think two years allows us the time to expore adequately the areas we might look into, travel to them and take a peek and start preparing for the actual costs involved.

    I guess I would like to start my research with the Colorado question though I will be checking out all the posts and posting again I am sure as we move along and determine our questions.

    Eventually I will be asking for all sorts of experienced answers to novice questions.

    I will probably post this one again but if you are reading this and have any suggestions on parts of the country that would allow us to not be too too far from major services (two hours), close enough to a smallish town to allow my children some social opportunities (I will be homeschooling though) with large parcels of land that have water trees and field on them and a long growing season as we plan to garden to sustain to the extent we can.

    I guess I will stop here for now but I will back with more questions. I am just getting all my research started.

    Thank you all for any thoughts, suggestions, advice and shared experiences.

    jana
     
  2. KAK

    KAK Well-Known Member

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    Jana,

    My husband is a Denver native, and since we married 30 years ago, we have lived in Colorado. I understand totally your reaction to the "stuff" in the metro area. We are looking to move out of state, because although Colorado is one of the beauties of this country, there are MANY other places that are cheaper, less crowded, with less crime,...you just have to be open to looking for them. I know that until we really started looking for somewhere else and found some wonderful aternatives, we thought we could live nowhere else but here. It really is all in the personal attitude and what is the most important to you. We have never lived near my family, and when we move, we will be moving away from his. This is the biggest concern (elderly mother), but you only live once. I just wish we had been more adventurous when we were younger. Check out some of those midwestern states. We will be semi-retired, so having a job for current and long-time support will not be as much an issue with us. That seems to be the major "problem" in some areas...no jobs.
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ............My favorite places\towns are all on the western side of Denver. Some of my favorites are, Cortez, Leadville (kinda high), Grand Junction, Salida, Gunnison, Delata, Durango although It is not as pretty as it used to be as it has TOO MANY motels, and there are some more that I can't remember. It is just to expensive to live as you stated. If I was El Richo Grande I'd probably live in Aspen or Teluride . Silverton is great but they say it gets ALOT of Snow in the Winter. Western side of South Dakota is really pretty but gets rather coolin the winter....., fordy.. :eek: :)
     
  4. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It seems to me your biggest problem in Colorado would be water - the state requires you to "register" your private well, the state can put a meter on it, and the state can tell you how much water you can use from your own private well. Not a good situation. Land does not seem to be very inexpensive in Colorado and in higher elevations you don't seem to have much of a growing season. I researched Colorado 15 years ago with your same thoughts in my mind and ran like H*** to SD.
     
  5. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We live in southeast AZ. There aren't many jobs in our town but Tucson is only a hour away. Many folks homeschool here. There is water and plenty of farm land. The summer has a fairly long growing season (May 1 to Nov. 1). Temps are a little high in summer but the nights cool off here. Land prices are very reasonable in our area and utilities aren't too bad compared to Phoenix. Good luck and follow your dream. As someone said, you only live once. If things don't work out you can always move back.
     
  6. Gayle in LA

    Gayle in LA Well-Known Member

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    I understand that at least in the Trinidad, CO area it is ILLEGAL to have any rooftop water collection systems. You are required to let all water that falls on your property run off it. If you have a cistern you have to provide written proof that you bought and paid for all the water in it. Somebody else can go live in CO. NOT ME!
     
  7. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm a Denver native and have recently purchased property near the Royal Gorge. I am thrilled and plan to homestead on the property. I've lived in Denver, but have camped throughout the state. Probably the most beautiful I found in CO is between Aspen and Leadville, but its way too expensive. The Wet Mountain Valley is gorgeous with incredible views of the Sangre De Cristos, and the weather is more front range than high mountain. I think we have a member named "earthship" who has an 80 acre ranch in the area. There are lots of properties for sale in the area I bought. Those with mortgages seem a little desparate in this economy. If you have money, its a good time to buy. There are some good deals left, too. Many areas are wooded, but streams are rare and raise the price. The immediate area was a land grant by Roosevelt and most parcels have been at least partially developed. I see possible evidence of homesteads around, but haven't met any one yet.(goats, chickens, laundry on a line, etc) My well is rated as agricultural, it will never get a meter and I can use it as much as I need.

    I'm convinced I will be able to garden year around. Its still front range. There is more sunshine than the metro area. It will take some habitat modification and deer prevention. I was there on Jan 1. It got to single digits at night, but was in the 50's all day. I've been there about 8 times now and all winter was pretty much the same. The recent storm two weekends ago dumped 36 inches on my land. When I went there on the following Wednesday it had all melted. Salida, Canon City, and Westcliffe are all equal distance from the Texas Creek/Cotopaxi area (25 miles). All three are nice and friendly. I joke about rush hour if there are two cars or more at the stop signs.

    It is illegal to capture runoff in CO and several other states as well. It isn't really enforced though. I called the county inspector and discussed several issues before I bought. He said they don't even look for cisterns and catchment systems. If it were done on a larger scale and blatant, the owner of downhill water rights would be the one to come after you.

    In Fremont County it is illegal to build an outhouse. You must have a septic system to get the occupancy permit. You can use temporary accomodations like a porta-potty with a permit if you reside on the property. Otherwise, no one really cares.

    Price averages $2500 per acre in the Texas Creek area. My mother has 10 acres about 15 miles away near Westcliffe and its about half that price. Of course, improvements add to that price. My mom's property has no well, no septic, no drive, no electricity, but it does have a phone hookup (in case you want a pizza delivery while you're digging the leach field).

    Here's a website for custer county. There are many real estate adds going from barren unimproved land to million dollar ranches.

    http://www.custerguide.com/home.asp
     
  8. jana

    jana New Member

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    with an earthship on it in Guffey. I am aware of the catchable water law but hadn't gotten around to thinking about it yet.

    My husband just said he wasnted to explor the Wet Mountains. THis should be a fun summer for us with that in mind.

    So how long until you move? We have thought about buying now, planting now and then having it a little closer to ready for us in two years when we are thinking we would leave Denver.

    decisions decision.
    j



     
  9. jana

    jana New Member

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    LOL. SO sad but Colorado is VERY stingy with its water. I do have to take that into consideration.



     
  10. Billie in MO

    Billie in MO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm on the Western Slope in Grand Junction. I know that they have a big homeschooling community here. Even had a convention here on it.

    And you already ready know about CO water issues!

    Some friends just bought 40 acres in Calhan (east of Col Springs) and built a house. Haven't seen it yet but hope to soon.

    Went a couple of weeks ago to look at property that is halfway between Montrose and Gunnison and it was on top of the mountain. Very pretty and isolated.

    I love the western slope even with all its flaws! Good Luck!!!
     
  11. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I run a small business in Denver, and I refinanced my house to buy the property. The near future has me trying to maintain the business and the mortgage payment while I ready the property. The property had a house that burned down, plus a still standing large garage, electric service to the house, well, septic, and phone. My plan is to get electrical to the garage and put in a cement floor by mid-summer. By fall I would like to build a cistern, an outdoor wood-burning-water-heating stove and an attached hot tub. I want to terrace my large southern sloped hill just off the garage space for a garden/ chicken/ rabbit habitat by spring. Then I'm good to go. Time is precious, progress agonizing. Keep your dream in your everyday thoughts. Do something each day to get you closer. I believe its worth it.

    I took some pictures if you would like to see:
    http://community.webshots.com/user/nogobug

    I have a few great campground suggestions, but hestitate to post them and reveal their true location in an effort to protect their beauty. Message me if you would like.
     
  12. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...............
    ....................Gobug, What size are those lots, how much do they cost, and are you limited as what kind of home you can build. I've wanted to live in Colorado since I was a little fart. Just Never thought I could afford it. Can a newbie drill a w.well and install a septic system without it costing a fortune??? I've got lots of questions but I don't want to be a "PEST".....so to speak ;) .
    ...................... Anyway , I'm going to sell my place in Texas and move somewhere. I just haven't figured OUT where, just yet. Good luck with your new place..., fordy.. :)
     
  13. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fordy,
    The land I bought is in Colorado Acres. The section is divided into roughly 2 1/2 acre parcels. The person I bought from had 5 parcels. My property is on the north edge. I have only met one neighbor so far. He is north of me and owns 40 acres - not in Colorado Acres. Another neighbor appears to have only 2 1/2 acres. I also saw a listing nearby with 168 acres, streams, and numerous rock outcroppings for $300K. There are many "developments" around the area. As I drive to my new property, there are numerous "for sale" signs in the immediate area.

    I originally was thinking of building on my Mom's land. She said I could have it, then she said I had to share it with my sisters. I figured the best thing to do was buy out the sisters, so I started looking for comparable land nearby to value her property. I found two adjacent lots for sale with 11 acres total just a mile from her land for $10K. Thats when I found what I bought. Although I didn't get prices for the septic, well, and driveway, the price I paid ($45K) seemed less than the improvements to her land. Electric service was more than a mile from her property. The cost to get it to the land was around $30K of which part is refunded as neighbors hook up. A solar system or wind power or combo would cost around $10K, I recently got a letter from a septic guy that systems start at $6.5K. Wells are the mystery expense. I have heard, but cant vouch that it costs $100 per foot and wells seem to average 100-200 feet. So I was guessing that I was in the $30-40K range minimum not counting the driveway.

    Fremont county uses IRC2003 (international residential building codes). I'm not sure about Custer county (I'm near the border). Some areas have covenants. I plan to build something "outside the box" and realize that I have to get an architect and/or engineer to bless the design before I can get it through the county approval. I have been told the county people are easy to work with. I need a year to get the plan together.

    If you're serious, plan a trip. I'll help if needed. I don't know if you camp, but you'd be welcome to camp on my dirt (literally) while you scope the area. Weather becomes less predictable as fall progresses, but even the winter allows for extensive land shopping and travel. Some property could require a 4X4 to view.
     
  14. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...............gobug, Thanks so much for all the particulars. It, looks llike , that you can find land for a decent price, but then you're held Hostage by the cost(s) of a water well and septic system. Then, after all that has been paid for, you get too start figuring out HOW to pay for your Home. I think I'll just go ahead and buy a 5th. wheel after I sell my property and look for a one acre lot that's affordable. Too many people sticking their NOSE in my business. Atleast in Texas , when you move outside the city limits your pretty much left alone. The county and city have been trying to convince the Texas legislature to give them the power to control...(and TAX) everything that happens outside the city limits. I think it will be a cold day in hell before the citizens allow the county to interfere in our business...........thanks, ...fordy :eek: :)
     
  15. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We just moved to Trinidad, and our realtor said it was ok to put out rain barrels. Just where can I find out for sure? I hate to actually contact the city or county as that could send them snooping.
     
  16. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In Fremont county its the sanatation inspector. His domain includes wells and septic systems. I believe if your title says you own surface water rights, you can catch what you can, legally. It confuses me. I know I don't own water rights, but I own the well and have a permit to use it as I want. When I specifically asked the inspector, he said technically its illegal in CO, but they don't look for or inforce it. In Denver, the city owns the runoff, and they will first warn then ticket the homeowner if they see barrels. I don't think you have to be paranoid. If so, just use a pay phone. Disguise the barrels.
     
  17. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Meant to respond sooner, but lost track of this thread. I just left western CO. Anything along the I70 corridor has gone sky high in price. Parachute has become too ritzy for homesteading. Garfield CO will not allow any home to be built that is not connected to the grid last I heard. Mesa CO is trying to restrict rural building across the boards. I fought with them for 3 yrs before selling at a loss and leaving (as did all the other hopeful homesteaders in the area.)

    The Grand Valley is the only place in that area with a long enough growing season to do much. I've seen frost the first of July more than once.

    I know of a very nice 40 acres just north of Baxter for 25k. Has power, no phone, seasonal creek. BLM on 3 sides. Only neighbor about a mile or two away. Access with dirt road. You would need a greenhouse to have a decent garden. Will need a building permit. I strongly considered it, but decided it was a little too remote for my state of health and being single with a handicapped child.
    If you are interested, pm me and I'll give you the contact info with a realtor who can show it. (She is handling the sale of my house.)

    Well drillers quoted me 10$/ft about 5 yrs ago.
     
  18. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I lived in Salida all I could have in the way of Garden was short season stuff,didn't have any dirt,had to water all the time.

    big rockpile
     
  19. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    NE Colorado is real homesteading country in Colorado. I've been in Weld County now 30 years. We bought bare 40 acres when affordable in the '80s now this is pretty pricey.