I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't NOT look at the Craig's List real estate listings for land in Colorado's Banana Belt. I so desperately wanted to get out of town that even after we bought two 35 acre parcels of land in Westcliffe, I couldn't stop looking.
In Westcliffe, the view sucked us in initially. Well, that and the price. We thought $23,000 for 35 acres was too good to pass up. Lots of flat-ish choices for a house spot, and a nice hill to the east, and views of the Sangre De Christo Mountains that just blow your socks off. We were lucky enough to have generous friends who lent us their fifth wheel to camp in. After three years of doing nothing with the land, we decided to put up a fence around about an acre of land for the doggies to run around in, and to keep the solar panels sort of safe.
To be fair, last summer's fence experience pretty much showed us that I can't do hard physical work at 8400 feet. We had sort of agreed that we needed to find our Escape From City Life somewhere else, but the plan was to sell the house in town and THEN start looking, not buy something else and have two mortgages.
But I found this listing for 35 acres and a house WITH PONDS. Maybe you live someplace where it rains on a regular basis, so you don't understand how enticing surface water is to us out here in the Great Dry West. Generally, you have to pay a lot of money for land with water out here, and since one of our Big Goals is to be debt free, it never occurred to us that maybe we could have water. We just weren't willing to spend that kind of money.
Listed for $240,000, this piece was WAY out of our budget, but I noticed that it wasn't selling. 500 and some days on the market. The photo of the house was terrible - shadowed and dismal looking. Still, there was water. And rocks. Really big rocks. Like having your own personal park kind of rocks. I had to keep wiping the drool off my chin.
After much hunting for money in our existing budget, Mikey declared it was possible to buy it, if they'd come down on the price. They had already lowered the price to $175,000, but that wasn't low enough for our budget. Amazingly enough, they agreed to our offer, we suspect because the bank was making repossessing noises. And so we were the proud owners of yet another 35 acre piece of land, only this one had a double wide on it that we had been in exactly once.
The owner insisted on being there for each showing - it is very difficult to properly poke around in someone's house whilst they are standing right there. Snarky comments are not fair game, and we are too polite to say, "Hey, would you mind getting the f*** out of here while we have a really good look around?" So we bought a house neither one of us would spend the night in without a hazmat suit. And so it began...