Buying a Home in Rural Southern Colorado

paula's ranchette

I have always found real estate interesting. I suppose it’s a part of my natural nosiness. I like to see how others live and what they choose. Mike knows the construction trade inside and out. That’s why we went with a friend to look at a small property yesterday. She wanted to get our opinion on a darling little ranchette not too far away from us.

This property is relatively new, well-built, nicely detailed inside and landscaped, with great views of Greenhorn Mountain and the distant Sangre de Cristos.

Buying in rural markets is so different than cities. Be sure and check what the property’s access is to water, electricity, phone service, and what kind of heating and septic system it has. This cute little ranch on a few acres has a giant garage and studio space, fully fenced, but it does not have access to water on the property. Most city people can’t even imagine that! Water will have to be trucked in.

Sunflowers on a county road

The good news about properties down here? The cost is about one quarter of what they might cost up north, near any metro area. I can see this property being priced at $500,000 to $600,000 if it was anywhere near the Denver/Boulder metro area. Access to jobs is everything in real estate.

The realtor informed us that sellers here usually have to accept contingencies on sales. Their average time on the market is about one year. We see many come down here, buy a house on impulse, and then need to sell a year or two later. Yes it is amazingly beautiful here in the spring, summer and fall, but the winters are so WINDY and can seem very long with most city distractions (restaurants, shopping, etc.) at least an hour away.

The truth is, most have no idea how or if they will adjust to rural life. My advice? Make sure you like spending a lot of time alone or are on the same page completely with your life partner. You need to get along very well in these circumstances. Make sure you enjoy nature, things like bird watching, plants, hiking, biking and lots of silence. If you have little appreciation for clean air, morning silence, amazing sunrises and sunsets and a pristine natural setting, don’t buy a rural home, especially if you crave any sort of human-based distractions.

decking Comanche home with mountains in backgroun

Our house being built in 2014 -2015

memoir of retirement 2016Mike and I left suburbia in 2014, after living in cities for most of our lives.      We wanted to try out solar living with spectacular views of Sangre de Cristo mountains. We moved here to live close to nature, to try out passive solar living, and to build the kind of home we chose to live in for the rest of our lives. We came in search of a far more quiet, peaceful, healthy and inexpensive lifestyle than cities could offer us. We have received so much more…            Would you like to know how we ended up here? The ups and downs of our year-long building process? My fears in our first year here? Why we love it so much now?

Please send me an e-mail to order your own copy — Laura Lee:

7 thoughts on “Buying a Home in Rural Southern Colorado

  1. Advice from my local friend Donna: This is such good advice! It should be required reading for anybody thinking about moving to this area. My husband and I moved here on impulse without considering most of the things you mention. Fortunately, it has worked out well for us, and I have absolutely no desire to ever return to the city, but this life is definitely not for everyone!


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  3. I was born and raised in the deep quiet of the wide prairie. Nine miles from the nearest neighbour. 20 from the nearest town. I loved it. I miss it.
    I realized we weren’t on the ranch any more the first time I had a neighbour tell us we were being too noisy. ????!
    Pretty tough wake-up call . . .
    Great advice about rural home purchases!
    The first thing we always ask about is the water. Lived three years with an iffy well and a large cistern. Grew up the hard way! 🙂


    • Yeah Diane. I thought I should warn those city slickers about rural properties. The house we bought outside of Fort Collins was supposedly solar with baseboard electric, but really needed a furnace, which we had to pay for. My first husband was such an idiot when it came to “details” like that!


  4. My sister lives in rural Colorado and just sold her home, which was a small ranch outside of Grand Junction. She now lives in an RV because she travels all the time for art shows. The view from where she is based is spectacular.


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