We left Colorado Snow for sun and cheaper taxes in California

  • Real estate agents Eric and Beth Ann Mott moved from Denver to Thousand Oaks, California in May 2022.
  • The Motts attribute their decision to a growing preference for the California climate and lifestyle.
  • Despite common misconceptions, the Motts find California financially comparable to Colorado.

This essay as told is based on a conversation with married real estate agents Eric Mott, 59, and Beth Ann Mott, 57, about their experience moving from a suburb of Denver, Colorado, to Thousand Oaks, California, in May 2022.

Eric: Denver was a really nice place to live.

I was born in California. But my parents and I moved to Denver in 1977, when it was still a cow town.

Beth-Ann: I ended up in Colorado because of Eric. We met remotely between Kansas City and Denver. When we got married in 1996, I moved with him to the Denver area.

Eric: We are both full-time real estate agents with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. We purchased investment properties in Denver, and in 2009 we traded three of those properties for a place in Thousand Oaks. So we have owned our current home here in California since 2009.

Beth-Ann: We planned to arrive in California at some point. But it took us about 14 years to see this come to fruition.

Denver Was Once a Great Place to Raise a Family

Eric: Colorado was one of the first places to legalize recreational marijuana, which we did not vote for. In our opinion, that’s when things started to turn around in Denver.

The homeless population in Denver is pretty insane, even in the suburbs. It really started to affect our quality of life. We started to feel uncomfortable going downtown.

Traffic has also become very bad. Twenty years ago it was much easier to go up to the mountain and ski for a day. But now the traffic is just terrible. If you want to spend a day skiing, you better be prepared to get up at 5 a.m. and not return until 8 p.m.

We loved taking cruise vacations to escape Denver during the winter. Over time, we realized that we were more sea people than mountain people. We just got tired of the snow in Denver.

A photo of Eric and Beth Ann Mott's car covered in snow in Colorado

Eric and Beth Ann said they were tired of dealing with Denver’s constant snow.

Courtesy of Eric and Beth Ann Mott

It was really a combination of different things that changed the environment. It’s just not what we appreciate.

Beth-Ann: We started considering moving to California during COVID while we were sitting at home and couldn’t go anywhere. We had always talked about ending up in California someday, and we thought, “Why can’t someday be now?”

COVID has also forced everyone to do things remotely. We started taking a lot of client meetings via Zoom. So, the idea was born from the possibilities created by COVID. We said, “Why wait?

We tested it in 2021, traveling extensively and working remotely with our real estate team in Denver. It worked. So that’s when we pulled the trigger on the May 2022 move.

We moved into the house we already owned in California

Eric: The moving process wasn’t too difficult. We have made a slight reduction in staff numbers. And we are renovating now.

Beth-Ann: We still have our business in Denver. I commute and manage our team there several times a month. We also both obtained our California real estate licenses. Ultimately, the goal is to split our resources approximately 75% in California and 25% in Colorado.

Eric: For me, moving to California was like coming home.

We can arrive at the beach in 20 minutes. We can access hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains at the end of our street. The Conejo Valley is like a small town. There are orchards and farms. And everywhere you drive, there’s green.

Beth-Anne: The weather is nice and what’s more, we have good weather. I like things that bloom, and they bloom here all the time.

Eric and Beth Ann Mott pose at the beach

The couple lives just 20 minutes from the beach in California.

Courtesy of Eric and Beth Ann Mott

Eric: We’re also both golfers, so it’s nice to be in California where you can play golf all year round without having to worry about snow on the course. We joke in December, when it’s 60 degrees: “Oh, it’s cold!” But that’s really not the case.

Beth-Ann: However, traffic here is difficult. Every time you have to approach the city center, it is certainly not a pleasure. But traffic in Denver was almost as bad.

California is financially comparable to Colorado

Eric: Everyone always says California taxes are way higher, but that’s really not the case when you look at them. The sales tax rate in Thousand Oaks it’s 7.25%, while where we lived in Colorado it was 2% more. It adds up.

Beth-Ann: Insurance rates in Colorado are also very expensive. So in terms of cost, it’s not that different here in terms of cost. In fact, it’s a little cheaper. For example, we pay less for homeowners insurance in California than we do in Colorado. Same with property taxes.

Eric: The value of our house here in California was the approximate value of our house in Denver, in dollars. Our insurance policy there was about $2,300 a year. Here it’s only $1,400. I also added earthquake insurance, which costs an additional $900. So it’s about the same price even with earthquake insurance as in Colorado.

Utilities here are also much cheaper for us. We haven’t used our air conditioner since September and we didn’t have to turn on our heat until January. It’s a saving in my mind.

Beth-Ann: Prices in California grocery stores are a bit higher, however.

Eric: But in California, there is no tax on food. It was a pleasant surprise when we arrived here.

There is so much propaganda about California.

Eric and Beth Ann Mott pose in front of a statue of Mickey Mouse

Eric and Beth Ann Mott said they love the access to nature and hiking in California.

Courtesy of Eric and Beth Ann Mott

Beth-Ann: You can’t paint California with one brush. I wouldn’t have wanted to move to Los Angeles. But living in a place like Thousand Oaks is a different experience.

I think the only things we miss in Colorado are our family and our customers.

Eric: There are still things we love about Colorado, but we visit it. We enjoy the lifestyle we live in California.

Beth-Ann: I think California will continue to be our long-term strategy.

Eric: California exceeded our expectations.


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