What to Know Before Moving to Colorado


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If you are planning to relocate to Colorado, you choose a state with breathtaking landscapes, incredible cities, and lots of open space. Colorado residents benefit from many opportunities for outdoor recreation and the state’s high quality of life. Before planning your move to Colorado, check out this list of things to know to help you settle into your new home and state.

Good economic growth

Jobs in construction, information technology, health care and aerospace have exploded over the past decade. However, there is a lot of competition in these industries due to the influx of new residents moving to Colorado.

Before considering moving to Colorado, check out the job market and see what types of positions you qualify for and where they are located. You will find different job opportunities in bustling Denver than in peaceful Pagosa Springs. The largest employers are Lockheed Martin and the Denver International Airport. The outdoor industry also offers many employment opportunities, from seasonal recreational jobs to the manufacture and sale of outdoor equipment.

Expensive housing and taxes

You’ll want to have a good job when you move to Colorado, as housing can get quite expensive depending on where you want to live. Most new construction runs along the Front Range Urban Corridor, with Denver, Fort Collins and the artsy town of Boulder scoring the highest prices for apartment rentals. If you head west to Grand Junction or the Eastern Plains to cities like Burlington, rental prices drop.

Colorado, on the other hand, offers a uniform sales tax statewide. However, counties and cities can add their own significant sales taxes. It is important to do your research so that you know in which area you can afford to rent an apartment and the sales tax rate.

Rental rates vary across state

Colorado has one of the highest rental rates in the country, with the highest demand in Boulder County with an average rental rate of $ 1,412 for a one-bedroom apartment. Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglass, Elbert and Jefferson counties all sell for around $ 1,260 for a one bedroom. You’ll find cheaper rates between $ 540 and $ 840 in the less populated areas of the Eastern Plains and West Slope.

Higher cost of living index

Overall, the cost of living in Colorado is about 12% higher than the national average, with the exception of utilities, groceries, and transportation. According to PayScale.com, expect to pay less than 6% for utilities, 2% less for groceries, and about 6% more for transportation than the national average.

Large school systems

In 2019, Colorado had one of the highest high school graduation rates in the United States, at around 80.7%. You can find over 10 two-year colleges in the Colorado community college system. Four-year colleges include the University of Colorado, Colorado State, University of Denver, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado College, and United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Four distinct seasons

You can enjoy moderate temperatures year round in most of Colorado, with an average elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level. Craggy mountains dominate most of Colorado, but as you head towards it East of the Front Range, you encounter dry plains that resemble Nebraska and Kansas, with milder winters and warmer summers. Due to the mountainous terrain and high elevations, Colorado has some of the heaviest snowfall in the United States, which is why you can find so many world-class ski resorts.

Skiing possibilities

Speaking of world-class ski resorts, moving to Colorado means moving to a place where you have a choice of 26 ski resorts. Whether you want to mingle with the affluent crowds of Aspen or Vail, or want to ski some of America’s toughest slopes in Telluride or Crested Butte, you’ll have no trouble finding what you’re looking for. If you already know how to ski, it’s easy to hit the slopes, and if you’re new to the sport, there are many ski resorts that offer ski lessons so you can learn the nuances of this fun winter activity.

A robust outdoor culture

Whether you enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, or just being in nature, moving to Colorado means that you will have plenty of opportunities to participate in your favorite outdoor activity. You have four national parks and 42 diverse state parks to explore and enjoy. In addition, there are many National Forests scattered throughout Colorado to recreate. In particular, Colorado Springs is known for its outdoor options.

Driving in the snow

Whether you’ve settled in the quiet southwest of Colorado near the San Juan Mountains or the Rocky Mountains near Aspen and Vail, you are bound to drive in the snow. If you’re moving from a warm climate that sees no ice or snow to the Colorado mountains, take the time to learn how to drive properly in snow and ice. Also, be sure to winterize your car with good tires and keep emergency supplies in your vehicle.

Legal use of marijuana

The state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, and legal dispensary sales began in 2014. However, while marijuana is legal, Colorado has strict laws on how and where. you can use it. To buy marijuana you need state-issued ID, you must be 21 years of age or older, and you can only purchase one ounce.

Amendment 64 to the Marijuana Law passed in 2016 states that you cannot smoke in open and public places, so be sure to follow state, county, and city laws and policies. Keep in mind that not all cities in Colorado allow recreational vending dispensaries, so check before you go to cities such as Grand Junction or Colorado Springs.

Craft beers and breweries

With over 400 registered breweries statewide, you can find something to suit your beer palate. You can find such favorites as Coors, brewed in Colorado since 1873, and Fat Tire Amber Ale, produced at the New Belgium Brewing Company. You can also sample more obscure beers like Dylan’s Brown Ale made by the Goat Patch Brewing Company. Plus, Denver tops our list of the best cities for beer drinkers.

Moving to Colorado allows you to enjoy a healthy, outdoor lifestyle with plenty of employment opportunities and reasonable rental rates. We hope this guide helps you learn everything you need to know about your move to Colorado.

Ready to think more seriously about your move to Colorado? Discover thousands of apartments for rent on Zumper and find your next home.

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