Monday, April 21, 2014

Real estate from hell and maybe heaven?

The people I know and associate with know I don't make things up, and how could someone make this kind of stuff up and not be a fantastic writer. I think I'll start wringing books.

We both had Saturday off so I decided I wouldn't wait any longer and called a realtor, who actually answered the phone. After 5 minutes of trying to figure out who I was, who I was working with, and was/wasn't I a broker, an appointment was set. It's amazing how difficult it can be to just see a home.

We wanted to look at 4 properties, one had an HoA that covered "road maintenance and water" for $30 a month. The HoA agreement was about 50 pages and covered everything from road maintenance, water (no wells, association water only), fencing (BLM approved wildlife fencing only), no hunting/fishing, no shooting of any type, etc. It was also expandable as the HoA board saw fit. Pass, down to 3 properties.

Here are the pictures of scenery, one on the way and one as we drove towards the first home. I love the area.

Before we got this second picture, we piled into the realtors suv. We were going to follow but it's always better to travel with the realtor if you don't know the area very well. Once she blew into her breathalyzer, she was able to start the journey. 5 minutes later she had to blow into it again to keep the car running. She didn't seem able to drive in a straight line and on more than one occasion we had to warn her to stop looking at the map and get on the right side of the road.

We passed an Amish buggy on the way in, there are many religious organizations in the area, and to us that means perhaps a chance to learn some skills and get to know a lot of good 'old fashion' type of people.

The first house was part of a conference center/seminary, they decided to sell off some buildings. They failed to put up a for sale sign, failed to leave a key... oh, they failed to maintain the place. In the upper right, above the garage door,  you can see a woodpecker hole. It looked like the place was shot to hell, the backside has about 20 holes already covered with flashing. Pass.

The second house was a modular, and I said up front I didn't want to feel like I was in a mobile home. We want a cabin, but know that's not what we might end up with. The place was on 10 acres and actually in the middle of the land. The exterior was nice and included a very large garage and deck. The property itself needed some work on water runoff control. The inside was packed with crap, someone is renting it and it should not have been shown for sale. It smelled (burnt bacon and cats), had stuff piled everywhere. It didn't feel like a mobile home... we stayed about 3 minutes inside and called it a pass. How do people expect to sell something when the renter is almost a hoarder.

The third house was one we saw last time, from the outside. This cabin was amazon, we LOVED it. Then we met our would-be neighbor. We met him while looking for the property marking pins. He said the property line ran through his driveway (and probably his garage the way I saw it) but he had a gentleman's agreement with the people who owned the cabin we were looking at. He also said he maintains the road (no HoA, not a county road), knew everyone in the area and seemed to want to be 'the guy'. He gave me a retired military feel and I just assumed he is bored, living in the woods isn't for everyone. This means he wouldn't appreciate us adding a wooden fence around the front of the property, target shooting, taking the land back from him if it was indeed ours, etc.

We also found out a section of the cabin roof had collapsed in 2008 from snow and it was repaired and a new roof was installed. Looking at the low angle of the roof, I wasn't surprised. The ground is really rocky here, as in hard to install posts/dig and the backside (about 3 acres) is a fairly steep slope that's just about unusable and in northern shade. The realtor goes to the same church as the 'neighbor', so we are sure it will be nothing but downhill from the start. 70% pass, we don't want hassles and lot line disputes from day one, although I'm not one to give in so that's why it's only 70% pass.

After a shockingly good lunch in town (2000 full time residents in the area, 4000 seasonal residents) we decided to go check on a cabin (on our own). From the maps, it was across from a cabin we saw last summer although the acreage was only 1.33. We really needed something to drag us out of the blues from the previous 3 hours. The cabin ended up being the one we saw last year! The cabin now has a new well, septic and an interior remodel.
Behind the cabin is a very large ranch, so there isn't much room on the other side of the cabin, but the bonus is that it's already fenced. I'm thinking a wooden fence would be better if we purchased this place.
 The property has a lot of aspens, and very few pines, that's a huge bonus.
 Yes, very nice!
 1.33 acres isn't a lot, but yes, that's a small year round stream.
The edge of the property cuts into this large year round stream. On both sides of the property, about 50 feet past the property line, are also year round large streams. We saw a herd of about 30 elk a little up the dead end road (the road the property sits on is a dead end with about 8 other houses/cabins and not all are full time). The road is county maintained.

I have a great feeling about this place. Sure, the lot size isn't huge, it's more than enough for what we want to do (besides shooting, but the National Forest is less than 1 mile away). I have a vision, if this place works out, of how the property can be worked:
Wooden fence along the road and behind the cabin, clean up the wooded areas (trimming, etc.), clean up the small stream (get all of the crap out of it, make some larger pools to increase the water flow and 'storage'), clean up the large stream (increase the pool areas in size, get the dead stuff out).
We would also change the electric range to propane, the cabin is heated with electric baseboard (great for times when we aren't there) and has a fireplace/stove. There is a wood stove in the master bedroom, how is this property not ours already.

It's also the same asking price as the cabin with the 'neighbor', so we could probably get either one for the same price.

I'll make another blog post with more pictures of the cabin and property that I got online.


  1. That last one sounds promising; keep us posted!

    1. Indeed, at least for nothing else than a good chuckle.

  2. It's been tough here finding the "right" place. Either the land is wrong and the house is right or just the opposite. And then there's this realtor in the area that we are looking at. She has priced these homes that she is selling at way more than they are worth, and many of these home owners having been told they are worth X amount, then don't won't to come down to a reasonable price. Then there are many, many places that have great streams (coming off the mountains) but they flow through cattle pastures, so the water has the natural pathogens plus high levels of crap and urine runoff in them. Trying to find a nice place upstream from these pastures that is for sell at the right price is well.... hard.

    And to make things more difficult, the way things are zoned, it is very possible to find a nice place that meets the criteria I am looking for, but have single or double wide mobile homes on either side or have a trailer park just down the road. I'm not looking down my nose at these people that live in trailers, but it does make it difficult to resell a place with this around.

    Good luck with your search.

    1. We have thought about just getting land and going from there, but the total process is long and intensive (permits, wells, septic, power, building, plumbing, electric, etc.).
      We are trying to keep resale in mind, in case it has to get sold. We hope that never happens but it's something to think about.

      The cabin I like has been on the market for 2 years and originally listed for $200k. I don't know what people are thinking sometimes (hell, ever).