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4 Unique Things About Mountain Living


4 Unique Things About Mountain Living

Life is different in the mountains. These are the biggest questions that I had when I moved here and that I’ve heard from buyers again and again. 

Why is it recommended that I get a P.O box?

The house you buy might not have a mailbox because mail delivery isn’t offered to many addresses up here. UPS will sometimes deliver to a home address but it can be a bit hit or miss. Instead, most of us rent mailboxes at the post office or at the UPS store. 

YOu guys used to stopping by to pick up your mail while running errands. I actually appreciate knowing that my packages are safe until I pick them up. Through both USPS and UPS you can sign up to receive an email when there is mail to pick up.

Do I need to worry about wildfires in Breckenridge and Summit County?

Like Smokey says “Only you can prevent forest fires”. Being aware of wildfires is part of living in the mountains of Colorado. Here are a few resources so you can make your home safer and stay informed during fire season.

You can request a safety evaluation from the local fire department. They will walk around your property and give you recommendations to make your home safer. Recommendations often include trimming trees and moving firewood away from the house.

You also should prepare in case you need to evacuate and can’t get back to your house. As recently as 2017 there was a fire that forced the evacuation of 463 homes near Breckenridge. Having an evacuation kit with essentials in your car can make a scary situation easier to handle.

Some other way you can prepare include:

  • Signing up for alerts
  • Register your house and family as part of Community Connect
  • And reviewing  this plan that goes over the basics of keeping your house and self safe. 

What are water and mineral rights?

In Colorado, the water on your land doesn’t belong to you unless you own the water rights.  Surface and groundwater in Colorado are a public resource. If you don’t own the water rights you can’t divert any of the natural water without permission. Most often this means applying for a well permit if there isn’t an existing well on the property.  For uses other than household water if can get more complicated. This is something we deal with on a case by case basis.

Do you own the mineral right on your land in Colorado?

In Colorado, ownership of the land itself and the minerals below the surface can be different.  Said another way, you can own land where someone else owns the rights to what is below ground.  If you do own the mineral rights to your land you can lease those rights out while still living on the land.

Transferring water and mineral rights some times gets complicated. That’s when we’ll call in the help of a specialized attorney. Don’t worry too much, just make sure to get clarification if they are being sold with the property before you make an offer.

Why is it so hard to find a house with air conditioning in the mountains?

When you start your property search you might notice that it is hard to find homes that have air conditioning in Summit County. The first reason for this is that you don’t really need it.  The average high temperature in Summit County in July, the hottest month of the year, is only 71F.  The second reason is that other forms of heat are more efficient that HVAC systems. 

Many homes in the mountains use in floor radiant heat, heat disbursed through the house via hot water in tubes in the floor.  It often doesn’t financially make sense to run the duct work needed for an HVAC system to provide air conditioning when it will only be used a few days a year.  All of that said, if you just HAVE to have air conditioning you can look into installing wall or window mounted AC units or if you are building new and the cost is worth it to you, you absolutely can have AC installed. 


Images courtesy of:  Cabin Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash , PO Boxes by Eli Pace, Summit Daily, Buffalo Fire Hugh Carey, Summit Daily featured in Denver Post  , fisherman in stream, listing photo from Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties