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Although everyone has their specific details they like covered, the following represents what seems to be the 10 most asked questions. These responses should not be considered "authoritive defintions." Many of these questions are answered on the linked websites you can access by clicking on the horseshoes to the left and doing so is recommended.

  1. What determines price?
  2. It seems like 35 acres is the "magic" number of acres, why is that?
  3. What is a domestic well permit and why is this a benefit to me?
  4. I am confused between a well permit and a water right. Can you help?
  5. So, what does a well cost anyway?
  6. I am not familiar with BLM, what is it?
  7. I've also seen the term State Lands. Is that different than BLM?
  8. It seems everything available is in some sort of sub-division with restrictions. I'm tired of people telling me what color to paint my house!
  9. Do you share the data from my 'information request form'?
  10. How does financing of raw land work?

 

#1. What determines price?
This is always first..admit it..you were wondering, too. This really has to do with several things...listed here in no particular order.

a.) Location. Where in Colorado is it? Close proximity to well known touristy towns and ski areas is sure to drive up costs, and being in the middle of nowhere without any amenities near, is going to be the bargain properties.

b.) Usable terrain. If it is park-like and walkable with meandering meadows making it good for horses, and usually the most sought after type land, expect to pay more. On the other side of that is rugged and steep, (but hopefully) with a small but accomadating building site.

c.) Tree coverage. You know what everyone wants big towering evergreen trees...maybe even some aspen. But if you find a deal on property with a view that brings you to your knees, you can always plant trees later!

d.) Amenities available. Like utilities, gauranteed year round access, mail delivery, access to schools...medical facilities...jobs as well as recreational opportunities in the area.

e.) Surface water. Hated to even mention it because everyone wants it and it really goes for a premium, but it has to be said. Colorado is an arrid state and if you can find water on the land, it is usually a small creek. Keep in mind that since this is a most desired feature, these properties can go very quickly...and again, at a premium.

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#2 It seems like 35 acres is the "magic" number of acres, why is that?
State statute (1972) determined the minimum amount of acreage allowable to apply for a domestic well permit to be 35. It is possible to find "grandfathered" land, or perhaps even smaller tracts in a development with some sort of water system though.

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#3 What is a domestic well permit and why is this a benefit to me?
Well, if you want to raise any livestock including horses, chickens or cows, you must have a domestic well. This allows usage of water outside your home for the purposes of your domestic animals, your lawn and gardens, and technically even washing your cars. You would apply for household use only if you have less than 35 acres..but, watch out for the water police!

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#4 I am confused between a well permit and a water right. Can you help?
Water laws are very complex here in Colorado. We even have our own water courts complete with it's own judges. You thought the water police was a just a joke! As mentioned above, Colorado is an arid state. We do have major rivers and waterways, but here in the west..much of the water is already spoken for by large metropolitan areas...like Aurora and states like Kansas.
Basically, a water right would only apply if you have surface water, like a creek or stream. The right to use that surface water is deeded seperately from the land, and is not included when you buy the land. So, don't start planning your little fishing pond, yet! Water rights are rare, and when found...expensive. Besides, they are not necessary unless you want to do some sort of commercial business and a well is far more practical for everyday living.

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#5 So, what does a well cost anyway?
Current qoutes are anywhere from $16-$21 a ft. When you are ready to build, the contractor can roll these costs into the cost of building. If you are building yourself or want the well before you build, it's best to budget for a minimum of $10,000. No matter when you do it, make sure to check references and go with an experienced driller!

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#6 I am not familiar with BLM, what is it?
The Bureau of Land Management is another arm of our government under the jurisdiction of the Dept of Interior. In a nutshell they manage thousands of acres of public lands. This land is available for recreation, similar to what you can do in National Forest. There are some lands considered "areas of critical concern" and they may not be open to motorized vehicles, but usually foot and horseback is fine. The BLM has a pretty comprehensive website if you have time to puruse it.

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#7 I've also seen the term State Lands. Is that different from BLM?
Very much so. State Trust Lands are usually only one section in size (640 acs), and are scattered througout the state. Perhaps you've noticed those blue squares on your Colorado map!These lands are managed by the State Land Trust Board for the benefit of public schools here in Colorado. This property can be leased, like in the case of grazing purposes, and are not always open to public use. They may allow recreation like hunting or horseback riding on a seasonal schedule. If you can find land bordering or near it, it really is a nice buffer against development.

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#8 It seems everything available is in some sort of sub-division with restrictions. I'm tired of people telling me what color to paint my house!
Okay so this one isn't a question..but it is a concern for many folks and a valid one at that. At some point in it's history the land probably belonged to a rancher that just plain couldn't make a living ranching any more. Rather than deal with the headaches of selling to multiple buyers, he sells to the highest bidder and they, in turn develop it. If the developer wants to stay in business, they will have to set up some very minimal covenants to try and help protect peoples investments. For some folks this purchase could have been done with thier entire life's savings and it very well may have been thier life long dream to own land in the Rocky Mountains...can you imagine waking up to a view of a bunch of junk cars lined up in a row to form a fence..or the smell of pigs basking in the sun? Seen it!! At some point down the road everybody has to sell and these types of things can turn your dream of any profit into a nightmare.

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#9 Do you share the data from my 'information request form'?
This information is used solely for the purpose of searching our data base, in order to find the property that best fits your needs! Your personal information is never sold, traded, or shared with anyone outside of our organization. In the event you would be better served by a referral to an outside real estate agent, and with your permission first, an agent with a proven track record of results and most importantly, integrity, would be recommended.

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#10 How does financing of raw land work?
There are several ways to do this, and if you have ever bought a home it is a similar process. If however, you are new to the world of lenders and financing, please let me know so I can further explain the terminology to you.

a.) The simplest of course, is cash. Some folks look at pulling funds out of bad performing investments, or have other assets they can liquefy like rental properties, etc.

b.) Look into the equity on your home. This may even qualify for tax advantages...check with your accounting professional for more details.

c.) Another option is to go with the owner or developer's financing. Developers will require 20% down, and Private Individuals tend to want a higher down like 30% or more to offset any risks. Rates vary around 8.5% interest and a term of 10, 12 or 15 years is pretty standard. A Developer may offer an amortized note over 20 years with a 7 year balloon, or maybe an interest only note for 2 years. The costs to close these developer and owner financed transactions are minimal, around $200, with no loan origination costs involved. A credit application will be required and approval is subject to their analysis and comfort level. Actually, this type of financing can be an advantage if you are planning on building in the near future...as you can use the equity in the land towards your construction loan without the out of pocket fees associated with most lenders.

d.) Banks. Many out of state banks are not comfortable with lending on raw land, so please do not depend on your "bank back home," that perhaps at one time or another told you it would be "no problem." But here in Colorado, there is no problem! The market here is very strong and many local lenders look forward to the opportunity to assist you with your land acquisition. These lenders offer loans with terms 12 to 20 years, with current rates being from 7-11%, and down payments as low as 20% and in some instances, for those with impeccable credit only 10%.



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Thanks for taking the time to review this information and I hope you found it fun and informative!

~Gina Gamma



 

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