Originally Posted by Caroline
ok, so... you asked what it would be worth, and we gave you (some good) reasons not to buy it. But it sounds like you really love it.
So, back to the original question. In order to come up with an estimate I'd have to ask a few more questions:
1. What are unimproved lots going for in that area? How much would it cost you to build a home off the grid on a lot yourself?
2. What is the cost to haul water / propane / get your sewage pumped out once a year?
3. Who maintains the roads out there? (I went off-road in Death Valley last winter and found more than one road impassable due to recent gully-washers.)
4. What's the rainfall? Parts of the desert never get anything, but other parts get rare but drenching rains (see above). If you had a cistern to catch the rare downpours, would that help and how much would it cost to install?
5. How much does it cost to drive out there from the city vs what it would cost to stay in town? Factor in how often you would have to travel for supplies, which would depend on fridge / freezer capacity and your ability to store water.
6. Is this area in demand? Are other homes selling, or would you have to look long and hard to find a buyer if you decided to sell?
7. If you weren't living here, where would you be living and what would that cost you? If you're currently in a big house in an expensive spot, then all the costs mentioned above might still be less than you're paying now. This assumes you love it, stay there, and don't sell until the house pays for itself by reducing your current expenses.
8. Have you considered RV living? You could buy a dry lot, put a nice RV on it, and be able to drive away if it didn't work out. Put another way, how much of this love affair is with the site, and how much with the house itself?
I've been toying with off-the-grid living for a while -- for the right price this could be interesting. On the face of it, though, I wouldn't pay much more than building costs for a dry desert plot.
Good questions all - and the internal battle is logic vs. emotion. and i have a real hard time quantifying and balancing emotion. This is good as i see how others see it - is it unsaleable if we wanted to unload it? Just a dry camp money pit that would break my spirit?
1. Dunno - lot backs up to national park, so that's a factor - if building costs are $100/foot it's $80k for the structure - but it's missing some real important parts. Down in the La Quinta area homes are selling for $150-$300/foot, but have tiny lots (maybe not a bad thing), garages, swimming pools, working light switches....
2. Water in 29 palms is truck tankered out for $65/1200 gallons or so - is this comparable? dunno. ditto sewage, propane.
3. Whomever wishes to drive upon them - drag the MIL's whenever we're down - a jeep and 4 big truck tires cabled together gets it flatish.
4. think they see maybe 4" of rain/year. Which can translate to floods because it's California and weird.
5. Small town maybe 6-8 miles away, but driving is an issue.
6. Dunno - not much of anything is selling right now. How desirable is this to the masses - OTOH, do i really care if it's for us? Guess i'm trying to get my head to sign off on my heart.
7. Thinking of snowbirding - winter down there, summer up here - which makes security of that place an issue.
8. Turtle living has little appeal - going from place to place seems really stressfull in a motorhome, and too too close quarters. Both the location and the structure have a lot of appeal for me