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Nice House!
Old 03-18-2008, 08:11 PM   #1
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Nice House!

We're looking to 1031 into a place - today my honey is down in the SoCal desert and found this:


Has much to recommend it - backs up to a national park, closest house .33 miles off, paved road 1 mile away - 800 sq.ft. and good views everywhere - and three fireplaces! On the down side, haul water, don't really think there is a septic system, haul propane for cooking and heat and hot water, and you wanna run yer LCD tv? hook up the generator! Guess the idea was for it to have solar panels. Like the person's taste - resonated with me more than any other place i've seen. The gal says it is very in process - but what was done looks great.

They want an amount that is maybe a tad much, but it sure is pretty! (Could be just a little impractical) Lots more pics here: calmloki/Desert Hut - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What would you guess as a price if you were shopping? It's within 70-80 miles of Palm Springs. 1 acre.
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My head will Explode
Old 03-18-2008, 10:16 PM   #2
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My head will Explode

Calmloki
Your potential renters are?

Howard Hughes
Ted Kazinsky
Charles Manson


I'm thinking a reality show or a really strange twist for a HGTV show.
Will Calmloki return from his showing? God Bless
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:32 PM   #3
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I can't really guess. If I had to, I'd say $70k. If the solar panels were already in, maybe a lot more. Are you saying there's no electricity at all?
I bet it's expensive to have fuel and water hauled out there. I'm guessing the land itself is pretty cheap, even though it's not that far from Palm Springs, it's not palm springs. it's the desert. I'm guessing only cell phones out there too?
I don't know - to build that far out could be expensive, so I may be way off.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:04 PM   #4
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I can't really guess. If I had to, I'd say $70k. If the solar panels were already in, maybe a lot more. Are you saying there's no electricity at all?
I bet it's expensive to have fuel and water hauled out there. I'm guessing the land itself is pretty cheap, even though it's not that far from Palm Springs, it's not palm springs. it's the desert. I'm guessing only cell phones out there too?
I don't know - to build that far out could be expensive, so I may be way off.
A couple years ago we bid on a 1928 rock cabin in the area that had a water tank and electricity/phone and 10 acres, but was way less sophisticated - got auction fever but bailed out at $75k, it went for $85k, then sold in a few months for $125K. Heard that wells go for $25/foot - the gal's Mom has a 450' well down there - so $12 - $15k more? The place is wired, but they ran a generator if they wanted juice. No idea what it would cost to bring power & phone a mile up the road - cheap doesn't come to mind. OTOH, lots of blue sky to look at, city lights down below...
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:20 PM   #5
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Calmloki
Your potential renters are?

Howard Hughes
Ted Kazinsky
Charles Manson


I'm thinking a reality show or a really strange twist for a HGTV show.
Will Calmloki return from his showing? God Bless

Bob, Bob, Bob - too primitive for H.H., too civilized and big for Ted Kazinski, and Charley, well maybe Charley. But we only need to rent it for a year or so... I figure it's perfect for some nakedy new age desert chick with a desire to get brown from toes to earlobes. Long as i'm in Oregon that would prolly pass muster with my honey, who, BTW, already did an unescorted visit to scope it out. We did lots of property shopping without agents - used to just get our agent of choice involved when we were ready to buy or had to get inside and couldn't. Used to was the places we looked at were so rough that we would just enter - no breaking required when windows were left unlocked.... Really don't like having an agent blathering while we are trying to see if a place will fit.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:29 PM   #6
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I'm thinking 140-160k, to recover building costs. It's a work of art.

If you can manage to throw out the "investment" portion of the equation, and you are just thinking about how to pass the remaining years of this short life, I think you could do much worse. 5 years from now you may decide it's not right for you anymore. How much worse off will you be financially? Will it really hurt your portfolio? I say take a chance if it speaks to you, otherwise you might wonder "What if?".
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:34 PM   #7
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In picture #5, that's not an outhouse, I hope.

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e7...t/DSCN9620.jpg
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:04 AM   #8
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In picture #5, that's not an outhouse, I hope.

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e7...t/DSCN9620.jpg
Gal said sauna: because when you're in a 120 degree desert day nothing is as refreshing as a brisk...sauna? Dunno how she spotted it as a sauna - maybe a heater inside? Cedar benches?
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:08 AM   #9
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Buy it, live there and invite me as a guest!
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:32 AM   #10
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is that an a/c unit on the roof? what powers that, the waterwheel you work as you haul in your water?

like so many of my dates, it looks beautiful, but i'm not sure how practical it might be.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:39 AM   #11
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Personally, I think the place looks nice but EWWW!!! No city water and sewer? No cable TV? No electricity? No shopping?

Not for THIS city girl. When Charlie Manson is released (like, never?) I am sure he will contact you for a lease.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:30 AM   #12
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Beautiful place.
My biggest concern would be water. Not the current availability, but over then next 3-20 years it may get even more scarce.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:54 AM   #13
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Beautiful place.
My biggest concern would be water. Not the current availability, but over then next 3-20 years it may get even more scarce.
And it weighs 8 lbs per gallon so you need something heavy (read: gas guzzling) to transport it. Or, you need to make a gazillion trips, which will also suck up the fuel.

I only see gas prices rising over the next couple of decades, so you'd have to factor that into the price you'd pay.
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:03 AM   #14
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Haul Propane doesn't sound like a problem. You just have a 300 or 600 gallon tank, and have a truck come and fill it once a year -- just like us.

I'll bet there is a septic system. Why wouldn't the builder put one in -- not like there's no space for it.
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:10 AM   #15
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Lessee - no electric, no water, no sewage. Nice campsite though.
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:22 AM   #16
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Lessee - no electric, no water, no sewage. Nice campsite though.
My impression, too.

Well, except that it's probably out in the middle of the desert. What is the usual weather like there in July?
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:11 AM   #17
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Is there a bathroom with a toilet? Where does the black and gray water go if not into a septic system or holding tank?
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:17 AM   #18
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Cantlogin:
"Buy it, live there and invite me as a guest"!

OK, but did you miss the 1 bedroom 800sqft? Mebbe buy it and rent it to you on weekends for a nominal sum to meet the 1031 requirements...

LGFNB: "is that an a/c unit on the roof? what powers that, the waterwheel you work as you haul in your water?
like so many of my dates, it looks beautiful, but i'm not sure how practical it might be".

Looks like a smallish swamp cooler - they must have had a honkin' generator, or run the cooler a while, then the tv, then the blender.. Don't think practical is one of it's attributes, but we've worked with a lot of sow's ears - might be nice to begin with a Lois Lane that only needs to take off her glasses rather than a Sadie Hawkins.

W2R: "Personally, I think the place looks nice but EWWW!!! No city water and sewer? No cable TV? No electricity? No shopping? Not for THIS city girl"....

It's only an hour or so to Palm Springs with it's airport and Costco and all manner of high dollar boutiques that i wouldn't want my honey to become accustomed too. The lack of other ammenities, yeah, that's a bit more roughing it than i really want, but if we could get a tad more civilization in the midst of the desert....

Laurencewill: DING Ding Ding!! You nailed it! Both on asking price and how i'm trying to view it. Some things you only get a shot at every now and again - the 1928 rock cabin eats at me every time we go by it - think this might cause the same lasting regret if we don't get it. Don't think it will fit our 1031 plans though - our place hasn't sold and we're asking a bunch more than the cabin is going for. This is tempting me more than places for twice the money down in the palm springs area - and i don't think it's because it's cheaper.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:43 AM   #19
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Is there a bathroom with a toilet? Where does the black and gray water go if not into a septic system or holding tank?
It's the desert - you have a pipe that goes out underground.... there probably is a septic tank and maybe a short leach line - but if they started with one of the old tuberculosis shantys* i betcha it's not up to any kind of code from the last 40 years. Oh, and there is a huge plastic septic tank sitting on top of the ground - not a positive sign unless they were going to do a tiny bomb shelter....

* Used to be Doctors would send people off to the desert to die or get better in the clean dry air - you could homestead a 10 acre lot up until fairly recently by putting up $600 worth of improvements: lots of collapsing shantys dotting the desert.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:46 AM   #20
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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.
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