Colorado: What Real Estate Crash?

Monarch Pass Arkansas Valley ColoradoAs soon as our rig crossed the border into Colorado, my spirit felt as if I had returned home. This land just calls out to me.

From Minnesota to Maine, there are lots of beautiful places in this country that I think I could live in. But none of them feed my soul like Colorado does. I know I’d love living here. But it could be a pipe dream.

Because in Colorado, you’d never know real estate is crashing all over the country. The Rockies are the most beautiful place in the U.S., and property owners know it. They have it made. I’m not seeing reasonable prices on any pieces of land, except for the most isolated patches of non-irrigated ag fields in the plains regions.

Williams Creek Pagosa Springs ColoradoFor you see, it’s all about water rights in Colorado. If there’s senior water rights on your property, the price triples. And if it doesn’t have water rights, it never will. If a landowner down the road has rights to a stream running through your property and you don’t have rights to it, you can’t touch that water. If you don’t have rights, you can’t even collect rainwater that falls on your property.

And if you’re lucky enough to have water on your property, you’d better pray that it’s good water, and not the stinky sulfur water that’s in a lot of areas. Or bad, water that’s been contaminated from mining and agriculture. If it is bad, you’ll be hauling water onto your property in cisterns, like a lot of people do. Which isn’t cheap.

Today a local property owner told us, “Most people (especially those Californians and Texans) who move to (rural) Colorado go broke, because they either don’t have enough money, or tools, or both, to live out here.” Sure enough, there are plenty of half finished dream homes for sale that dot the countryside, for prices that we still can’t touch.

Silverton ColoradoI don’t know if we have enough tools, and I’m certain we don’t have “enough” money. But there’s just got to be some piece of decent land in Colorado where two motivated, self-employed fools from Eureka can make a go of things.

19 thoughts on “Colorado: What Real Estate Crash?”

  1. Hello Enreeeeco,

    This is Caren (Schmutzel 🙂 from Germany. I tried to find you and your e-mail address through the internet. How can I contact you directly?! (I’ll come to Hawai beginning of January 09!)
    You can reach me under:
    Take care, Caren

  2. jim and rene – we were in Telluride, CO a few hours ago- a lovely, sassy town filled with young people and …dogs. we fell in love with the place and stayed for 5 days. we took a day trip to Ouray and Silverton, and although these towns have that similar western, ex-mining town character, Telluride, which has some victorian charm as well still win our hearts… it is very community oriented.

    we’ve moved on to Mesa Verde to explore other parts of Colorado. i hope you guys enjoy your stay in CO. We havent been updating our blog since Las Vegas, NV, i guess taking a break from it as well and just enjoying traveling. (we’ve gone from the great basin in nevada, the canyon lands in utah, then telluride in colorado)

    its crazy to think were in the same state now 🙂 where are you heading next. us, we don’t really know yet.

    take care guys.

  3. Item number three is what my rant on KKCR will be all about tomorrow, you should all listen in – 4PM HI time or 7PM PST.

    With my community radio plug out of the way I would have to agree.

    Gas per gallon is already $8.73 in Norway and my family in Germany pays some $7 plus per gallon.

    We’re getting close to when folks start talking about the good old days.
    Best pick up a banjo or some like instrument and make the most of each day.


  4. Let’s see.

    1) The weather sucks. Too many overcast days.

    2) Land prices there are outrageous. We could never buy what we could elsewhere, even in Colorado.

    3) The remoteness. I fear that in the post-peak oil years, this community will be hard hit by the cost that it takes to get things trucked in and out.

  5. Hey, I’m with you Rene cause I never found the people in Eureka as self-serving, indulgent, out-of-touch, flakey, lost, doe-eyed, vitriolic, angry, or even clueless, I found the people in Eureka full of cheer and good will.

    So why did you leave?


  6. Yes Auckerman, getting involved is key. Take Eureka, for example. Now, that place isn’t exactly swank or exceptionally beautiful (the town itself). It’s OK. But it’s the people that make it a great place to live. It’s the people that I miss the most, not the location.

  7. Great point Ranger!
    Every place you’ll go in this world will have issues that appear like a burr under the saddle, but if you love the land and the people those items will become manageable over time. Find the place that lifts you up and just deal is what I believe our venerable park ranger is suggesting.

    I have friends who just moved to Mo’orea (island next to Tahiti) and during my visit they pitched a few bitches about the ills of living there, after some time behind the rouge it became plain and clear that you just need love the place first and work from there. They live on this lagoon that would put your soul in a state of shock with it’s beauty.

    They’ve moved some five times in the past six years and at each place they landed they love it for about six months and then make the shortcomings the reason to move on. This is expensive and a waste of time (unless you’ve got oodles of both money and time, then who cares, party on). I keep telling them to get involved in the community ad then judge if that place will or will not work, simply rolling in and not feeling the “vibe” isn’t enough, you need to commit, commit, commit and then decide.

    However, “Colorado sounds like a nightmare, get out of there!”


  8. We will find that perfect little piece of paradise. Preferably an affordable, dividable one on which we can begin to build our fiefdom. And oh yeah, with water rights!

    That reminds me, I need to gets me another Colorado Lottery ticket.

  9. I have always loved Colorado. I’m finding in our travels around North America that there are places more beautiful AND not as expensive! As for the $2 wine……I’m sure you’ve found the same bottles we’ve found at Wal-Mart for $2? It’s not bad! 🙂

  10. We’re watching for that list too! Who knows, mabe we could be “distant” neighbors and share a “2 buck chuck” or even a Boones Apple…

  11. Oh Auckerman, come on, I KNOW you want to live off the land!

    But that $15 Malbec, well, if it’s not Two Buck Chuck, then forget it. I’m all about Two Dollar Wines these days.

    Kale, we are still compiling that list. We should definitely do a post on this soon. We’ve added some places, and retracted others. Stay tuned, and thanks for asking.

  12. Dear Kale,
    I have taken a moment to reflect on the tenor of your words, I retract the suggested the Pontet-Canet and am prepared to offer a Malbec Mendoza Crios de Susana Balbo 2007 as substitution which at $15 a bottle offers strong value in addition to it’s vanilla-tinged toast backed by plum and blackberry notes.

    This soft wine alone should do much for your palate and keep things real budget-wise when squatting in the bush.


  13. Well it looks like Eric will get you saddled into the rockies kind of living on a real shoe string budget!!! How is that “list” of places to reside and enjoy…and make a buck doing? Have you added any recently or stroked another from the list?

  14. Time to stick it to the man you two and go native, no, not native American, native in the aboriginal sense, let’s step back say 40,000 years back. Before the alleged ice bridge served as a gateway for our Siberian cousins. Think like our pre-historic ancestors and you should do fine.

    First, bury your truck and fifth wheel and take only those tools that will help make other tools. OK, with that done let’s move on to food which opens up a Walmart of possibilities if your thinking like I am?

    Be prepared to wear what you’ve eaten as all animals are made of meat and meat typically comes with a pelt, all told, animals are partners to be treated with respect and then eaten and then worn. Moving on…

    You should plan on planning because seasons probably influenced our behaviors more than today where all we do is pull out thicker layers as needed. So, let’s think foraging early in the year and storage later in the year. Spring is for fornicating and easy pickins with regard to other wildlife on the trail for feed.

    You’ll need to devise the best hunting gear as per your dietary requirements so I’ll leave that up to your creative whims as for me, nothing like a gut-strung bow and arrow for close range kills, there’ll be heaps of fish traveling downstream so sharpen your wit and spear cause it takes a steady and patient hand to deliver this main course.

    Habitat? So what about habitat? Burrow deep but leave enough roof line to let your dank little love nest respire.

    Come Summer you should expect additional fornication with long days to keep you warm and in good cheer. Get to know the land you’re squatting a whole lot better at this time as you don’t want the man comin’ down on you in the Winter when movins’ cold and undesirable.

    Come Fall start thinking pemmican or like wads of berry and jerkied meats. Deer is great for this fat-laden but rewarding slow-chew meal. For my time in the bush, and you shouldn’t rush into this recipe, but we used to enjoy a honey bush tea foam cascading over a vanilla-scented brioche pudding – which may or may not be your thing. At the very least, try serving any wild beans or nuts with a nutmeg-scented pillow between each serving, mmmm, getting hungry and wild just thinking about my suggestions.

    Well, there you have it, living wild and living off the land.

    Oh, the water thing? Well, I don’t drink much water so you’re on your own here, however, I do however suggest a Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac 2007 for it’s full body, blackberry notes, fruity finish and balance – ahhh, living the raw life, I am envious!

    Bon chance mon amie!

  15. Hope you guys enjoy you’re stay in Colorado. Summit County (Breckenridge,Dillon,Frisco) is a great place during the summer if you get a chance to make it there. Dozens of great day hikes, especially Ten Mile in Frisco. It snowed June 4th last year so hope you enjoy the white stuff! Mountain Lion Cafe in Silverthorne has an awesome breakfast. Wish we could have met up with you but if you ever make it to PA give us a shout. Don’t forget Rocky Mountain National Park, waiting until summer to visit is well worth the wait. Have fun!


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