Earlier this spring I wrote a post on Lifecrafting. In it I detailed the plans my husband and I had for moving to the mountains. It wasn’t an exact plan, but more of an outline of a dream we had to move out west to Colorado and live our dream life in the mountains. After I wrote the post, 4 weeks later we were on a plane to go check out the location we had in mind. I was so excited, for 6 months we had been diligently pouring over real estate listings, getting excited over pictures of lots, plots and land. We had our favorites picked out and were ready to go exploring. We were determined to find our next home on this trip!
The day before we left, we found out that a freak spring snow had dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in our destination area. Lots of snow? No worries, as a native Vermonter, the white stuff doesn’t frighten me, not even in April. But I knew it might likely make it hard to locate real estate signs, roads, boundary marker, or even get around on foot. But when we got to town, we found out the local coffee shop was still offering snow shoe rentals, so we each took a pair and set off to find our future homestead.
The first few lots we looked at were disappointing. The price was right, but the landscape was not all that. Like most lots in this area in a mountain town like Nederland, Colorado, they were quite sloped and surprisingly tiny. But we drove on to check out the one that was slightly beyond our budget. It was over 5 acres and almost totally level. The trees were beautifu and it backed up to National Forestry land, making it super private and quite. In the picture above, you can see my husband trekking across the property in his snowshoes. We were in heaven! It was a wonderland of snow, woods and quiet that was exactly what we were looking for. Everything felt right, we felt as though we found our spot and were meant to set up here. I was convinced that we would be making an offer on this trip to secure our dream.
After we got back to our hotel room, we ran the numbers and figured we could afford a slightly higher loan, if we were to pay off other things. I was so excited that when my husband got off the phone with the realtor, his words didn’t register
right away. “She said the lot was already under contract. They are closing on it tomorrow.” I was crestfallen. It didn’t seem real. I was already living there in my mind. The hunt was over. Everything was settled. Nothing else compared. We were supposed to be moving onto the next step. Needless to say, the remainder of the trip was lackluster. I had little interest in viewing other properties. The rest of the lots paled in comparison to the one we liked, the one that got away. The realtor said “it had been on the market for years, and now everyone wants it.”
It was such a crushing moment that it was hard to bounce back from. There wasn’t any other direction to turn but to completely stop focusing on it. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt, so I decided to put the dream of moving to Colorado on hold, at least in my mind. I felt like I had no control over the circumstances, so there was little for me to stay engaged with. When we got home, I shifted my sights onto my arts and crafts pursuits. I figured I could take my mind off of things by getting crafty with my hands and trying to participate in more craft shows.
It worked! Over the spring and summer, I had my own adventures in crafting and selling wares at a variety of different fairs, festivals and markets. It felt good to be in the moment and not try to live for the future or dwell on the past. My husband took a business trip out to Colorado later in the summer and was able to make it back to Nederland to view a couple of new lots that popped up in the real estate world. It was promising! The lots were small, but had potential and were in decent locations. We were on our way to getting pre-approved for financing and still felt aligned with our plans to get out to Colorado in the next year or so.
The one thing that wanted to do most was to build our home ourselves. We planed to build it slowly, without requiring additional financing. We thought we could tent out on our land, build a temporary structure to live in while we built the larger home. But as we did more research, we found out that even in the mountains of Colorado, Home Owner’s Associations and County regulations still dictate much of what you are allowed to do with your own land. My husband felt pretty strongly that he didn’t want to be governed by an association that would restrict how he could build and live, so he started looking elsewhere in the area, outside of Boulder county.
Again, my hopes were dashed to finally settle on a piece of desirable mountain property. The whole process made me feel like my dream was out of reach. But that was only one way of looking at it. In all honesty, taking this process slowly and letting the timing work out for itself is probably the most reasonable and best approach to take in making a major life decision to move across the country from city life to the back country. How do you stay hopeful but detached when you are waiting for your dream land to appear? How do you trust in the process and not force your exact details into the picture? How do stay open to more options than the original plan that was outlined?
In the past few weeks, it’s been my husband who has stayed steadfast in our dream, diligently researching properties and considering alternative to our original plan. When we considered the option of going outside of Boulder county, we opened up more options for flexibility in building regulations. Initially we were hesitant to consider looking for land “too far away” from town, for fear of isolation or long commutes. Then my husband had the idea to look for lots with a small home or cabin already on it. That changed our search results in the real estate listings and a few interesting options popped up. One in particular, which was only a couple of miles outside of the county line had 26 acres and a tiny cabin built on it.
Overall, the cost was twice the price of what we were looking at, but it was going to save us in the long run. We would end up with 25 times the land and more flexibility on how we could use it. We would have a dwelling we could move into immediately and qualify for a traditional mortgage instead of having to work around a more strict loan for land. We could pay off some of our student loan debt and free up more cash for mortgage payments. Interestingly, we would have never found this property if we had stuck to our original plan of “acceptable” price range, zip code and land only searches. My original dream of moving to Colorado was living in the middle of many acres with plenty of land to make trails, grow food, keep bees and make a complete homestead. I had compromised that dream when I was “settling” for property listings that were as small as one acre in size just so we could live close to town. It seemed like small acreage on sloped land was all there was to choose from. We were missing out on the other options that could be available to us.
So now we travel out in 6 weeks to see with our own eyes, this potential home that we’ve been dreaming about. Could this be the one?? I’m optimistic and hopeful but not so doggedly determined to “force” this to work. My past experience has shown that only intensifies disappointment. Stay tuned! I’ll keep this Life Crafting thread up to date with our latest pioneering adventures as we allow our dream to manifest.
Have you ever given up on a dream? Or have you held on tight? Have you ever had to change your “parameters” to allow in more options and been surprised at the results?