Property View: Mountain View
Lot Size (Acres): 8.01
Street/Road Desc.: Dirt Road
Road Maintenance: County
Topography: Flat, Gently Sloping, Rock Outcropping, Sloping
Lot Features: Cul-de-Sac
Land Use: Residential
The above is the description for our property as listed on the internet when we found it. Sounds great – right? Well, you can’t always trust what you read.
The first surprise (and this is a good one) is that we are actually purchasing two individual properties, each approximately 4 acres. This means we can build two houses (one on each property) or sell off one of the pieces of land in the future. The caveat at the moment is that one piece is totally land-locked from the road so we would have to put in an easement to allow a road through the first property into the second. Not a major deal, but something that needs to be done to make the second property sellable in the future.
Although the posting said “residential” this land is actually zoned Mining 1 (M1). This does mean that you can build on the property in Clear Creek county following the rules of Mining Residential 1 (MR1), but not necessarily true in other counties.
Additionally, part of this property is zoned Mining 2 (M2) which cannot be built upon as its only use is still for mining. Not understanding the difference could result in planning an unfeasible house placement.
8.01 Acres & Land Rights:
- Mining claims are laid out to follow veins of ore and are usually a particular width either side of the ore center-line.
- Mining claims also can be based upon the depth of the ore.
- Mining claims are laid out to get ore from the ground, not worry about people building houses on top of the land.
These 3 facts result in some very ‘interesting’ property lines. For our two properties they both lose some portion of their surface rights to other properties. So the total 8.01 acres specified in the advertisement are not actually correct. This was calculated by looking at the mineral-rights boundaries of each of the two properties with no consideration for how much overlap existed between the properties. We probably lose about 1 acre of surface land due to overlapping mineral rights. One property in the overlap gets the surface rights (right to build structures) while the other one keeps its right to mine minerals. This ‘fun fact’ also means that you could build a house and then your neighbors could build a tunnel right under you for mining. Something to be aware of when looking at property.
When buying property in the mountains, the best plan of action is to go talk to the county offices to get their assessment on the land. The Clear Creek county offices were the most helpful people I’ve dealt with during the land search process. Other county offices gave me mistaken information or information that contradicted between employees. It wasn’t that other offices intended to mislead me – it’s that crazy things have happened to the land over the last couple hundred years and the records aren’t always clear. We spent many an hour digging through microfiche records to corroborate or clear up issues. If the land is too confusing you can hire a title company to do that sort of research for you but its gonna cost.
One property we looked at was so convoluted that after 3 phone calls, 2 visits, and 10 hours researching records we passed because their were so many irregularities on the land, it was possible they would never grant a building permit. Clear Creek country personnel knew where this land was, what it could be used for, and had clear records going back as far as they required to know it was build-able. But Caveat Emptor: the property buyer is responsible for all facts related to their property, if a county employee tells you something wrong it is ‘your’ fault not theirs when the county rejects your building proposal. So when in doubt, hire a company to do more through research, commit yourself to endless hours of digging, or pass on to a cleaner property. But if you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and money you might get an amazing piece property others have passed by because of bad records.