Purchasing a Low-Cost Home and Acreage in Colorado

The Bennett's share their experiences buying a low-cost home and acreage when they retired in San Luis Valley, Colorado.

| December 2002/January 2003

Dan and Rita Bennett share how they purchased a low-cost home and acreage ideally suited for their retirement years.

Our Low-Cost Home and Acreage in Colorado

Firsthand: Reports from the Field

I've always loved the San Luis Valley in Colorado, and when I happened upon an ad in the Denver paper about acreage for sale on La Jara Creek, about 15 miles southwest of La Jara, Colorado, my wife Rita and I had to see it. On a cold February morning we drove 250 miles from Denver to the site. We fell in love with the land and bought it on the spot. Three years later, after a lot of labor on our part, we have our little blue home; it and the land cost us approximately $50,000.

The 760-square-foot, off-the-grid home was designed and framed by Heartland industries, but we installed its electrical wiring, plumbing, interior walls, insulation, drywall, painting, wood trim and floor tile.

We enveloped the house with 4-mil poly sheeting before we sided and insulated the exterior walls and the roof. The windows are small, double-paned and efficient, and still provide adequate light. I later added a hexagon window above the dining area to bring in additional light and ventilation.

The home is two stories with a gambrel (barn-style) roof and a covered porch we enjoy year-round. An exterior door opens into the living room, which is small, but cozy. A ventless, propane heater offers ambience and all the heat we need, even at 20 below zero. The stairwell wall allows space for some of our photography. Underneath the front windows, we placed a futon that opens to a bed for guests to use.

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