Moving from California to Colorado: Expert Tips and Advice
Love the beach but tend to have more of a blast with mountains? Then experience the ultimate mountain destination by moving to Colorado! The state is also one of the healthiest in the nation. You’d be surrounded by people who love staying and eating healthy. It’s also easy to find natural wonders that are unspoiled and untouched by tourism. This is not the case with most of California’s points of interest.
Colorado has recently been getting a lot of attention from Californians but let’s learn about what it has to offer so that you’re more familiar with what the hype is about.
Factors To Consider Before Moving From California To Colorado
California and Colorado weather are pretty similar when it comes to the summers. But in terms of the winter conditions, you want to be able to know if you’re ready to tolerate the cold. If you’ve always lived in warmer climates and don’t know what it’s like to handle cold weather then it can take a little time to get acclimatized to a Colorado winter. For instance, on the assumption that you’ve traveled to a city like Chicago, NYC, and Boston then you’d probably feel like Colorado winters are easy-peasy.
To help you understand what temperatures you have to brace yourself for, see the difference you’ll experience below:
Here’s the difference in temperatures that you can expect during peak winter time:
- Colorado in January – Average day temperatures fall in the -8°F to 22°F zone.
- California in January – Average day temperatures fall in the 54°F to 70°F zone.
In Colorado, you’re practically about to deal with freezing temperatures. And yes, you’d need to invest in winter boots, jackets, and look at tutorials to layer your clothes. This is something you never have to worry about in the state of California. A hoodie is a sufficient investment for California weather but it won’t be for Colorado.
Now let’s look at summers too where the states almost mirror each other.
Here’s the difference in temperatures that you can expect during peak summer time:
- Colorado in June – Average high temperatures fall in the 70°F to 87°F zone.
- California in June – Average high temperatures fall in the 75°F to 85°F zone.
Few Things To Bear In Mind About Colorado Weather:
- Besides investing in winter coats, we also suggest investing in a good light rain jacket so you’re prepared for the occasional downpours especially in May.
- For the whole year, the temperature in Colorado will fall in the range of 22°F to 89°F. But in California, it is 48°F to 85°F.
- An infrequent spattering of hail is common in late spring and summer. So you have to watch out for weather warnings.
Cost Of Living
California is the state with the highest cost of living which makes all other states including Colorado less expensive. But don’t be surprised if you find that living in Colorado isn’t dirt cheap. Taxes, real estate, and even gas prices are lower in Colorado, but it’s not as low as Florida or Arizona. What we mean by this is that living in Colorado is expensive but it’s going to seem more manageable because you’d be transitioning from the more expensive California.
When it comes to property taxes, expect it to be at 0.53% in Colorado while it’s slightly higher at 0.76% in the state of California. Now if you’re thinking about buying property, you’d again see a good difference in prices, but not a vast one.
- Median value of homes in Colorado (according to Zillow) – $449,182
- Median value of homes in California (according to Zillow) – $635,055
The bright side is that for most cases, you’d certainly be able to buy a bigger home and pay less for it as opposed to California. Keep in mind that housing prices are climbing higher every year in Colorado because of the number of new residents flocking to it. Real estate in cities like Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Fort Collins is going to be on the higher side.
In terms of utility bills, expect costs to be lower than California since the state Colorado makes it on several lists that ranks states with the lowest utility bills. The fact that you don’t really need air conditioning in Colorado is probably the main reason why utility bills here are drastically lower.
See also: Cheapest States to Live in
California is the state that contributes the most out of all the states to the nation’s GDP. The size of its economy is the size of a mountain in comparison to Colorado. But that doesn’t mean Colorado’s economy is a molehill. Its economy by GDP ranks 16th in the nation. So it’s not exactly in the top 10 but Colorado also isn’t at the bottom of the list too.
To add to that, the state’s job market is certainly gaining momentum. There are more people moving into the state every year and that brings potential for new businesses. The state’s economy is broadening so the market will be slightly different than in California where things are already at an established stage.
Some of the key industries of the state of Colorado are also in contrast to California. Here are the top contributors to the state’s economy:
- Natural food manufacturing
This overall projects that the industries that bloom in Colorado will be different from California. This is why we highly recommend lining up a job with an industry that you’re oriented towards before moving. Also, just a tip that Boulder and Denver are two good cities to consider for well-paying jobs because it’s a budding hub for tech, finance, and other lucrative white-collar jobs.
Now for some great news! In terms of average household income, there’s not going to be considerable difference. To give you perspective, see the comparison in costs below:
- Median household income in Colorado (according to Niche) – $72,331
- Median household income in California (according to Niche) – $75,235
On an average, most households bring in almost the same amount that California residents make yearly. If you even end up not raking in this amount on a yearly basis, the cost of living is lower in Colorado so you’d still be able to maintain a good cost of living to income ratio. Also, note that a single adult can live quite comfortably on a yearly income of 50k in Colorado.
In California, residents have many options for public transportation. There’s the Metro Rail, MUNI Metro, BART, SMART, VTA, RT Light rail, and more for commuting. But the only city in Colorado that’s touted for its public transportation options is Denver (the state capital).
Without a doubt, you could even consider living in Denver without a car because firstly, it’s a walkable city. Secondly, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates buses and rail lines that serve most of the Denver Metropolitan Area. But if you’re looking to explore more than this city like neighboring mountain towns, then a four-wheeler will be your best friend. You would also need to get acquainted with driving around more often because the state is huge and things are spread out if you don’t live along the Front Range.
It’s true that transportation options aren’t the best offerings of Colorado, so let’s now look at what the state has in store for you.
Colorado’s Strong Points
- Breathtaking scenery (Look up pictures of Rocky Mountain National Park, Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, San Juan National Forest, and we can go on!)
- You can have fun outdoors be it hiking, skiing, camping, or fishing. It’s a great destination for those inclined to learn new sports. The high altitude makes it good for training.
- The low humidity makes it even more pleasant to enjoy the outdoors.
Top Cities To Move To In Colorado
Just like the word LA comes to mind when you think of California, the state capital Denver comes to mind when you read out Colorado. There’s a presence of several finance companies in the city because of which it is dubbed to be the Wall Street of the West. It also lies at a central location so you’re close to recreational spots and amenities.
Median value of homes sold: $390,600
Median rent: $1,311
Boulder is more like San Francisco because of how lively and friendly the city is. This is probably because it is home to the University of Colorado so there’s just an atmosphere that keeps the place happening for young adults. There’s an endless number of coffee shops, eateries, and shopping stores in the area. The only downside is that real estate is expensive so there’s not much diversity but just a larger concentration of upper middle class communities.
Median value of homes sold: $700,000
Median rent: $1,554
3. Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is home to the number 1 school district in the state. If you’re going to be moving with your family, this is the city to consider. The atmosphere is pleasant and homely. There’s a huge military presence in the city and is the largest contributor to this municipality’s economy. Aerospace organizations like NORAD and ADCOM have headquarters in Colorado Springs. The other upside of living here is you’re close to Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
Median value of homes sold: $269,800
Median rent: $1,131
People are drawn to California for its diversity. Because the state is extremely multicultural, you get to try different cuisines and build an interesting network with people from all over the globe. Similarly, Aurora has a mixed bag of cultures. Besides diversity, the other perks are that real estate is more affordable and you have easy access to Denver International Airport. You also get to enjoy all the amenities that residents of Denver appreciate but for a smaller price.
Median value of homes sold: $290,000
Median rent: $1,328
5. Fort Collins
Fort Collins is the city to occupy if your job comes above all else. The city is far off from Denver and other populous cities in the state but is a popular choice for residents because of the windows it opens for jobs. The city also took first place on Livability’s best cities list in 2020. Broadcom, Intel, Advanced Energy, Schneider Electric, CSU, Newtown Software, Hewlett Packard…the list goes on for the number of tech companies in the city. It’s almost like a mini Silicon Valley.
Median value of homes sold: $367,900
Median rent: $1,346
See also: Largest Cities in Colorado
Things To Take Care Of When You’re Moving From California To Colorado
- Many moving companies will advertise that they handle long distance moves. But when picking a mover ensure that they are licensed to move across the Colorado borders with their own trucks.
- We also suggest that you make sure that a representative mover will be there at the start and end of your move.
- Start preparing a home inventory 3-4 months before so you know the number of things you’re going to move.
- If you like, you can consider driving to Colorado in your own private vehicle with personal belongings like jewelry, documents, and other sentimental items. But a flight will be much easier because it’s just a two-hour journey.
- Try your best to take less along with you. Unless you really value the items you have. The more you purge accumulated items the easier the move will be.
California to Colorado Moving Costs
A move from California to Colorado is just over 1,000 miles and you can expect costs to begin at $3,000 for full-service movers. At the most, estimates can go up to $4,000 for uncomplicated moves. Complex moves such as those that require a trailer or the mover to move furniture like a hot tub or pool table will be more expensive.
The more services you ask for, the costlier it will get. Moving companies could even charge separately for junk removal from the property post the move while some full-service movers could include this in the bundle of other services. For accuracy on estimate and more, it’s best to begin a discussion with all the requirements of your move with a moving company.
If you want cheaper options you can consider renting a portable container from PODS or U-Pack. Another approach is paying for rental trucks like Penske or Budget Truck Rental. If you take this path, you have to independently handle tasks like packing, loading, hauling, unloading, and more.
How much does it cost to move from California to Colorado?
The starting costs for full-service movers from California to Colorado are the range of $2,800 to $3,000. Costs can go as high as $4,000 and above depending on the complexity and weight of the items.
Is Colorado a good state to move to?
Colorado is a great state to move to if you prefer an active lifestyle. Being outdoors to hike, cycle, ski, camp is a huge part of the state’s personality. Staying fit and healthy are also values pressed upon and held highly in comparison to a hustling lifestyle. If you resonate with these aspects and way of living in Colorado, you’d fit perfectly into it.
Why are Californians moving to Colorado?
One of the main reasons why Californians are moving to Colorado is because of the high cost of living and high property taxes in the state. The median home cost in the expensive Bay area in California can go up to $1 million.
How many days does it take to drive from California to Colorado?
It would take around 17 hours 33 minutes to drive from California to Colorado.
Is Colorado a good state to move to?
Colorado is a good state to move to if you like exploring nature and outdoor activities. You’ll never get bored here as you have lots of adventurous things to do like skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, etc. Apart from that, the state has spectacularly beautiful natural wonders like the Pristine Lakes and great cities to live in.
What should I know before moving to Colorado?
Colorado has the most amazing outdoor activities like skiing and so you’ll experience an active lifestyle here. The state also has the most amazing craft breweries and you can participate in several brewery tours and festivals here. But if you’re moving here, you’ll have to deal with high property and sales taxes.
Why are so many Texans moving to Colorado?
Many Texans are moving to Colorado because of its beautiful landscape, friendly people, and dozens of outdoor activities. Colorado also has some great neighborhoods to choose from like Denver, Colorado Springs, etc. Another reason for Texans moving to Colorado is that they will get to experience all four seasons. The state also has a booming economy that has attracted many Texans to move there.
Why are people moving to Colorado?
Colorado’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the US, which is why many people are moving there. The state also has the most beautiful natural wonders like the Rocky Mountains and amazing outdoor activities like skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, etc. that make people want to move there. Many people are attracted to popular neighborhoods like Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, etc.
What’s the halfway point between California and Colorado?
Paragonah in Utah can be considered as the halfway point between California and Colorado. The hearts of both California and Colorado are about 550 miles away from Paragonah.
Can I fly to Colorado from California?
Yes, there are several airlines like Frontier, Spirit Airlines, etc. that will take you to Colorado from California. Just so you know, if you book the flight from Kayak, your average one-way trip will cost you an average of $45 whereas the average price for a round-trip would be around $480.
What is the most dangerous city in Colorado?
Glendale in Colorado can be considered as the most dangerous city because of its high crime rates. According to the research conducted by NeighborhoodScout, it has a violent crime rate of 9.73 and a property crime rate of 182.07 per 1,000 residents. Both are higher than the national median of 4 and 21 for violent and property crimes respectively.
Is living in Colorado expensive?
The overall cost of living in Colorado is slightly higher than the U.S national average. As per the data shared by BestPlaces, the COL (Cost Of Living Index) in Colorado is 121.1, which is higher than the national average of 100.
What is a good salary to live in Colorado?
A salary of around $62,000 annually can be considered good in Colorado to meet your basic living expenses. To give you an insight of the monthly salary, it equals up to $5,168 per month.
Does Colorado pay you to live there?
Almost 4% of your first mortgage can be covered by the CHFA (Colorado Housing and Finance Authority) if you meet their requirements. Apart from that, there are several other homeownership assistant programs in the state that will help you pay for your housing and other costs.
If you’re fed up with the tax burden of California and want to escape to a state where you can focus on your health and well-being then Colorado won’t disappoint you. It’s a state that is almost like a spokesperson for healthy living. Farm-to-table food and engaging in outdoor activities is the way of life here. The natural landscape is enticing enough to not miss California beaches. All in all, there are several pros and if you see yourself having a bias towards Colorado, chances are you love what it has to offer.