Q: My girlfriend and I have been looking at small houses on acreage out in both Whitewater and east Orchard Mesa. When we buy, we will want to fence part of the property to contain our dogs and maybe eventually a couple of goats. How will I know exactly where I can put a fence in relation to the neighbors?A: What you want to be sure you have in hand before you think of digging a fence post hole is an as-built survey. This is the "map" of the property showing the location of the house with any decks or porches, out-buildings, any existing fences, driveways, paved walkways and utility easements. Most important to you is an as-built, for short, will show you the exact location of your property lines. When you do install a fence, if you want, it can be on the property line or a short distance onto your property. It would be a neighborly idea to have a conversation with any neighbors on the opposite side of a fence to get their opinion and cooperation on fencing. If you are going to build a fence yourself you will want to know Mesa County regulations limit a fence to no more than 6-feet in height and you cannot block the traffic view at an intersection. Before construction I suggest you call the Mesa County planning department for more detailed information. While you are on that call be sure to ask about the need to locate buried utilities.***Q: I am looking at houses for sale and wondering about heating systems. What is most common or what should I prefer to buy?In the Grand Valley, the two most common heating systems are hot water baseboard and forced air. Both are powered by natural gas so both are relatively economical to run.According to sources at the Mesa County Planning Department, hot water baseboard heat was the most common for decades. More recently, newer homes are being built with gas forced air heating. These systems often incorporate air conditioning into the overall system, eliminating the swamp coolers we see on so many house roofs and making dual use of the ducting system for hot or cool air distribution.A few homes, mostly in higher price ranges, incorporate boiler heated water into in-floor radiant heat systems. While these are very efficient, they are also considerably more expensive to install than either forced air or how water baseboard.Propane heat, while more expensive than natural gas, is still used in some homes where there is not natural gas available. Most of these are in the Whitewater area. There are virtually no fuel oil stoves being used to heat homes in our area, though some people are using this fuel source to heat workshops or garages.Wood stoves are less common here than in some of the smaller towns or mountain towns. Any older, inefficient wood stoves are supposed to be upgraded to newer more efficient models at the time a house sells.----------------Doug Van Etten is an associate broker at Keller Williams Colorado West Realty. He has been helping families buy and sell their homes since the early 1990s.
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