The Dos and Don’ts of living in a Small Town or Community in Colorado.
Based on personal experiences, experiences of past clients, and things I hear around my own small town. Let’s define “small town” as less than 5000 residents, one 4 way stop, and no soda machine.
Don’t skip the first step on the Do’s side
Don’t assume anything! Including community services like fire, ambulance, or mail.
Don’t assume deliveries happen in your area daily or even at all.
Don’t assume deliveries happen past your community gate or down your very long gated driveway. Even with permission.
Don’t think that your new fence will be good with the neighbors, town or community. The “we have always done this way” mentality may exist.
Don’t assume you’re not in a flood plain. It surprises me all the time where FEMA and insurance agents think it might flood.
Don’t assume your small pets will be safe even in a gated yard. Coyotes and birds of prey don’t care about your fence and your pet may be the size of their next dinner.
Don’t assume that the local grocery will have what you want. During the height of the pandemic, my grocery didn’t have enough drivers and we didn’t get fresh vegetables all the time. The same goes for gasoline. Your new home might be in a “Food Desert”
Don’t assume your roads are going to be plowed as fast as you like or at all. Grab a snow blower, shovel, and better yet put a shovel on the front of your truck and help others out!
Read Code of the West by Zane Grey
Introduce yourself to the neighbors, all of them. They probably knew you were moving into town before you arrived. And they may have ideas about you already.
Introduce yourself to town government, fire department, post office, and other leaders.
Find the local airport. This may be how some of your services like UPS are getting to you. Ask questions, know the pickup hours, etc.
Ask for the local delivery driver's phone number and give them yours. This may save time later.
Do volunteer wherever and whenever possible. Small communities don’t usually have large budgets if they have money at all. If you don’t participate you really can’t complain. And you may have badly needed skills that will get you some admiration.
Do find out if your “pets” are acceptable. If there is a cattle lease in your area your cows, dogs, goats might not be permissible.
Do find out if and what type of internet services and phone services work in the area. Seems like a no-brainer but this often gets forgotten when looking for property.
Do wave when you pass people even if you’re in a car. These people will start to recognize you and your car. Won’t it be nice if they stopped to help when your car was stuck in a snowbank?
Do check on your neighbors. It’s not uncommon for owners of second homes to not know what’s happening. It may be that your neighbor's home needs to look occupied, so offer to help. And if the house is occupied, be a good neighbor and check on them.
Do offer to snowplow or mow the neighbor's area. This might help prevent a grass fire from spreading to your property.
Do get to know local history. For instance, directions are often still given as “turn right at the old fire station” which is now a community center. Or, “I live in the old town clerks house” Both of these examples are true where I live!