Facts About Rural Living in Colorado

Relocating to rural Colorado may be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but it will not come without surprises. This information will help you anticipate some of the finer points of rural living in Colorado.

  1. Emergency response times (sheriff, fire suppression, medical care, etc.) cannot be guaranteed. Under some extreme conditions, you may find that emergency response is slower the farther out you live.
  2. There can be problems with the legal aspects of access, especially if you gain access across property belonging to others. It is wise to obtain legal advice and understand the easements that may be necessary when these types of questions arise.
  3. You may have to provide or pay for the maintenance and cost of maintenance of your road. Huerfano County maintains 675.23 miles of roads, but many rural properties are served by private and public roads which are maintained by individuals or by private road associations. Additionally, there are many miles of county roads that are not maintained by the county - no grading or snow plowing. There are even some public roads that are not maintained by anyone. Make sure you know what type of maintenance to expect and who will provide that maintenance.
  4. Many large construction vehicles cannot navigate small, steep, narrow roads. If you plan to build, it is prudent to check out construction access.
  5. School buses travel only on maintained county roads that have been designated as school bus routes by the school district. You may need to drive your children to the nearest county road so they can get to school.
  6. In extreme weather, even county maintained roads can become impassable. You may need a four wheel drive vehicle with chains for all four wheels to travel during those episodes, which could last for several days.
  7. Natural disasters, especially floods, can destroy roads. The repairs of private roads are the responsibility of the landowners who use those roads.
  8. If your road is unpaved, it is highly unlikely that Huerfano County will pave it in the foreseeable future. Check carefully with the Huerfano County Road and Bridge Department when any statement is made by the seller of any property that indicates any unpaved roads will be paved.
  9. Unpaved roads are not always smooth and are often slippery when they are wet.
  10. Mail delivery is not available to all areas of the county. Ask the postmaster to describe the system for your area.
  11. Newspaper delivery is similarly not always available to rural areas. Check with the newspaper of your choice before assuming you can get delivery.
  12. Standard parcel and overnight package delivery can be a problem for those who live in the country. Confirm with the service providers as to your status.

View MLS Listings for La Veta & Cucharo CO

Colorado Utilities:

  1. Telephone communications can be a problem, especially in the mountain areas; If you have a private line, it may be difficult to obtain another line for fax or computer modem uses. Most people who live in the rural areas of Huerfano County use satellite for TV and internet service. Even cellular phones will not work in all areas.
  2. Outside of water and sanitation districts, sewer service is not available to your property.
  3. If sewer service is not available, you will need to use an approved on-site septic system or other treatment process.
  4. If you do not have access to a supply of treated domestic water, you will have to locate an alternative supply. The most common sources of water in rural areas are private wells. Private wells are regulated by the Colorado State Engineer. Not all wells can be used for watering of landscaping and/or livestock. If you have other needs, make certain that you have the proper approvals before you invest. Some areas within Huerfano County will not produce a viable well.
  5. Electric service is not available to every area of Huerfano County. It is important to determine the proximity of electrical power. 
  6. It may be necessary to cross property owned by others in order to extend electric service to your property in the most cost efficient manner. It is important to make sure that the proper easements are in place to allow lines to be built to your property.
  7. If you have special power requirements, it is important to know what level of service can be provided to your property.
  8. The cost of electric service is usually divided into a fee to hook into the system and then a monthly charge for energy consumed. It is important to know both costs before making a decision to purchase a specific piece of property.
  9. Power outages can occur in outlying areas with more frequency than in more developed areas. A loss of electric power can also interrupt your supply of water from a well. It is important to be able to survive for up to a week in severe cold with no utilities if you live in the country.
  10. Trash removal can be much more cumbersome and expensive in a rural area than in a city. It is illegal to create your own trash dump, even on your own land. In some cases, your only option may be to haul your trash to a solid waste transfer station (Gardner) yourself or a landfill (Trinidad; Pueblo; Westcliffe). Recycling is currently available in Walsenburg and La Veta.

Colorado Real Estate:

There are plenty of issues that can affect your property. It is important to research these items before purchasing land.
  1. Construction of most buildings in Huerfano County requires county issued building permits. The only buildings not requiring a permit are out buildings or barns of 600 square feet or less without a slab floor.. You should verify all permits required by contacting the Huerfano County Building Inspector and Land Use Officer (Steve Channel).
  2. Not all lots or parcels are buildable. The Huerfano County Assessor has many parcels that are separate for the purpose of taxation that are not legal lots in the sense that a building permit will not be issued. For various reasons some owners have split their property up and may be selling an unbuildable lot.
  3. Easements may require you to allow construction of roads, power lines, water lines, sewer lines, etc. across your land. There may be easements that are not of record. Check these issues carefully.
  4. You may be provided with a plat of your property, but unless the land has been surveyed and pins placed by a licensed surveyor, you cannot assume that the plat is accurate. As a general rule, the older the plat the higher the likelihood that it may not be accurate.
  5. Fences that separate properties are often misaligned with the property lines. A survey of the land is the only way to confirm the location of your property lines. A “historic” fence may define property ownership and take precedence over a “legal” survey.

For information on current La Veta and Cuchara listings, contact Ed Kirkland at 719-679-1309 or ed@firewallranch.com.

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