Coping: Real Estate Facts of Life

Elaine and I were pretty disappointed last week.  We had invited two of the best local real estate agents/brokers out to look over the old Uretopia property and tell us what they thought it was worth.

Their answer was shocking:  We would net less than $200K from the place, they figured.  No, there’s no pay-off on the place, either.

The main – and apparently ONLY – problem we have is that the house we live in is a mobile home.  They took great pains to explain to us that unlike their stick-built counterparts, mobile homes never go up in value, only down.

(Continues below)


Let’s back up a few steps:

We have been considering moving to a city where we’d be l0ooking for an 1,800 S/F home on one level.  The idea of living in a home where there weren’t 15-steps up to bring in the groceries develops a certain appeal as you come up on age 70.

Another plus about moving is medical response times.  Out here in the Outback of East Texas, the medical response time is around 25-minutes.  Which is a lot different than the typical in-city response times of under 5-minutes and in many places less than 3-minutes.

Yet another factor is family and friends.  While Coy up the road is a dandy fellow, as is the Robin Landry family up in Oklahoma, we are not Texas B%R (born and raised).  B&R families aren’t so much down on “outsiders” (regardless of having owned property here for 14-years) so much as they tend to keep to themselves because Texas stil has strong family values.

In B&R families, the aunts, uncles, cousins, and such tend to fill-up the social calendar.  While neighbors are treated “neighborly” and such, and sure a glass of branch water is welcome, when comes down to it, they’re busy.

Elaine likes people…as to I…but she’s not big on driving 50-miles to have lunch with a friend.  Doing such is hardly unusual.

So back to point:  To replace what we have in terms of metrics elsewhere will be a minimum $300K proposition.

The main house here is two bedrooms in 1,880 square feet under air.  Doesn’t count a 400 s/f screened-in porch or decks.

Over in the other building, my office and the guest quarters- so the amount of space under air in the two buildings is 2,600 s/f.  Remember, this is 1,620 of mobile home and 1,600 of “pole building.”

When we move, there’s a lot of stuff that will remain with the property.  Gas and electric welders, milling machine, big metal lathe, and most of the big woodworking tools.  Inside a finished urban home, there’s just no way I could justify moving a 200-pound long-bed jointer or another 200-pounds of box and pan sheet metal bending brake.

We also wouldn’t have much use for a 24 HP diesel tractor, 48-inch riding mower, or the pickup truck, farm implements and such.  Nor would the grid-interactive solar go.

Less than $200K?

Meantime, a stick-built home with fewer square feet on smaller property three houses up (which out here is a mile) just sold for $299 which would put that owner’s net around $270.

But the kicker in that is simple:  That house doesn’t have any central heat or air!

All of which gets us to the first bottom line of this morning:  When you buy real estate, unless you LOVE living debt-free in a building style that has a social stigma attached to it, don’t buy a mobile/manufactured home.

Sure, they keep the rain off.  Yes, they are comfortable enough (once you get rid of the stupid “mobile home size” toilets and some other dumb cost-cutting the industry as done.

Another thing to be sure and get (if you ever get to looking seriously at a mobile) is the “northern insulation package.”  This gets you better (even triple glazed in some cases) windows, and two by six sidewall framing and 2X6 of 2X8 rafter with insulation to match.

Problem is?  If you get all the cold weather options to save money in the long-term you sneak up on the price of stick-built homes.


Turns out that these real estate folks just sold a home a buddy of mine put up about 3…maybe 5…years after we started our rework on this place.

He put in what’s called a ‘barndominium.”

A friend of mine did just this about 10 miles south and east of Palestine.  He started with a nice piece of land – about 20-acres that was fairly level and had a couple of acres of lake on it.

Then he put in a 50-by-100 two-story metal building on a slab that was 5″ thick, rebarred, and stubbed out for key plumbing.  Had the whole thing insulated, too.

With the shell of a metal building on the outside he then built the interior of a large (2,300 s/f or so) house on the inside.  It was insulated (again) and the only give-away that it was not a house once you were inside it was the windows were cased with 2×8 lumber, as were the doors.

It was a grand place:  the floors being concrete were sanded, buffed, and stained as some grocery stores are doing.  Ultra low maintenance.

And that left him with a 2,300 s/f storage area (with stairs up) over the house part and a monstrous garage in which they had two vehicles, tractor, implements, and so on.

Turns out the same real estate people who were visiting us had done the sale on the barndominium.  It fetched over $400,000.

All of which has left us in something of a quandary:  Do we stay here?  Or, do we move to a city and put in a smaller version of my friend’s “barndominium?”

For now, we’re in the “thinking about it” stage.  When you come up on the middle of seniorhood, you learn to take the time and think through decisions.  That’s because when you’re older, you don’t have “recovery time” if something doesn’t work out.

Having 28.82 acres loaded with wildlife is a real joy most of the time.  But there are times  like when we consider selling and going back to urban as a medical strategy for the long haul, that it becomes one more thing we wish we had thought through a little more carefully.

Meantime, since we have been watching single level homes with pools, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and two car garages in Glendale, Arizona, we’ve seen those prices come down a bit.  Not sure if that’s Al Gores “climate change” or just that selling homes in hell when the heat is on drops prices a bit.

Between there, and Payson, Arizona up the hill, we may find something, or not.  But living in a city?  Has its pluses and minuses.

And then there’s the building permit hassles of putting up a 60-foot high ham radio tower.  Oh, the sacrifices we may have to make to stay alive, huh?

Write when you get rich,

57 thoughts on “Coping: Real Estate Facts of Life”

  1. 4 years ago we made the decision to “downsize”. We had a working farm on some acreage that we wanted to get rid of due to all the work. We sold it and bought a property from . These are foreclosures that you bid on. The property that we bought has 10 acres of woods, a stream at the back, 2200 square feet, a walk out basement, 1 hour from downtown Kansas City, and is beautiful. We gave $161K for it. We have a very small mortgage on the property at this time that we could wipe out when we wish.

  2. You are right about the hell on earth that is Phoenix in the summer, but you do get used to most of it. Look me up if you get some time when you at over here George, I will buy the coffee, or lunch since urbansurvival is an incredible bargain at $40.00 a year. I live in Peoria AZ. How about listing on a prepper site, like ??

  3. George,
    Very sorry for the bad news, it is always difficult when paradigms shift. The way your mind works, your world views and thought process make interesting columns but unfortunately miss main stream. Real estate is ALL about mining views of hopes and dreams, but is today almost 100% bank financed. Mobile homes miss the mark on both. Few dream of mobiles and the banks hate them. Remember the mobile industry nearly destroyed themselves with aluminum wire and the weather channels constant pics of mobiles after storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes pretty much strangled what left. Which brings up a very difficult life lesson, most of your audience should NEVER invest in real estate and flips. We don’t see the market correctly and appreciate “real” construction and things built with fudge factors are expected. More about this later….


  4. Just keep in mind the “Sailors plight”. Having been one of the first females to go to sea for a large oil 1976. We had a monthly magazine with pictures of people at sea and different articles about their lives as well as Company news. On the back page was a list of deaths of former officers and crew members. It was always full of names and their death showed up shortly after their retirement. After 25 to 40 years at sea (yes I said 40) There was constant & continuous work on board the ship, people who gave orders and people who followed orders 4 hours on watch 8 hours off which 4 of the off time hours was used for over time. Best 3 squares a day a new port every week.Oh and the money was great! Then they retire and go home, to a life totally alien to them. And “POOF” they are gone. Thing is, they always had something to do and those same people were very healthy at sea. All that ‘energy came to a stand still, no where to go. Not saying anyone will die because you guys move “just asking what happens to all that energy you both have?
    Just asking, I am old its my job. LOL

    • What Jo said.

      Yeah, we sold our cows, some of our farm implements, gave away tons of tools, fruit jars, furniture, etc.– it was just too much. We retired, again.

      We loaded up a 26′ used U-Haul truck. Put ourselves on a ferry to Homer, Alaska. Leaving the horrid safety of I-5 and big, close hospitals.

      Now we have a roughly finished vertical log house, without a well or landscaping out of town on a couple of acres of brush.

      Our cows are now the moose which drift through and look in the windows. We look around carefully for bears, or moose, before taking the trip to the garage up the hill a bit. We haven’t heard the wolves, only coyotes. The eagles do fly by’s and look in the window, the porcupines munch on the brush below the house. The bunny that was eyeballing my garden, we later heard squealing in the brush when it was got by something.

      There is much work to finish this abode, chinking and sealing cracks–especially after last winter when the blizzard winds were wafting through the house as well. We catch some rainwater and buy the rest–for now. The price of fuel oil sucks, but we are slowly changing this house’s reputation for sucking down oil like a weary sailor newly ashore.

      We have exciting earthquakes every so often, we have numerous volcanoes around us, we can sometimes see the missile smoke trails from Kodiak Island missile range, during the military exercises of late, the Black Hawk and C-47 flying below radar made our house rumble like an earthquake does. We go down to the docks to watch the ferries or Navy ships come it, and scrutinize the wakes and water plowing activities of various boat designs for our future planned purchase. We watch the people on the spit catching salmon, halibut and Irish Lords–because we are too cheap to pay non-resident fishing license fees. I have my poles ready–just a few more days and a $20 dollar license will be mine.

      Don’t retire to boredom and too much safety George. Since it is going to happen anyway, we decided our deaths should have some more drama to write about.

  5. Whidbey Island.
    Rain Shadow climate. Country living with all the city benefits just a ferry ride away.
    Much more conservative than its neighbor to the South.

    • from a PNW person living out by in the Cascade foothills– yes, Whidbey is a great place unless you consider all those nasty fault lines that run through both ends of the island – just thinking about how one would get off the island if one of its ends went, especially the shallow south end which has the potential of major quake, which then could set off the other fault lines, and then generate tsunamis….And what about the Whidbey Naval airstation and all those training flights which create so much noise?

    • Yes, George. About a year ago you were excited about secret and sunny Sequim at the north of the Olympic Pennisula. And being a bit to the west it is upwind of the big X on the Whidbey air station and Bangor nuke sub base. If it gets disconnected from SeaTac in an earthquake or other, so much the better to keep the hordes away. Are you figuring NK missiles might fall short of targets? Was looking forward to hiking ONP with you! Not to mention crabbing, clamming, salmon running, sailing Puget Sound, ferry to real civilization in Victoria, BC, etc. You can get a couple acre lot with manufactured/modular home with large RV garage and wood/mech shop, likely put up by retired Boeing engineers or vets, starting at about 200,000.

  6. Hi George.
    Your rational for moving seems a bit thin! I know your a busy guy and seem to be up on world events but have you noticed that theirs “Trouble in River City” to quote the Music Man!
    Your in a perfect position to ride out any social unrest or other high energy events.
    You also have the place that your progeny will flock to if things turn nasty!
    Think long and hard about moving just for convenience!!
    It’s no longer about economics. It’s about Survival!!!

    Wishing you well.
    Rocket Mike

    • In addition, to the above, you are clever enough to build a ‘dumb waiter’ to get your groceries up the steps–would also add value to your mobile long term. The steps will do your ticker good for now. Don’t drive 50 miles for lunch when a video call would cover the issue in less time and cost, meet for a picnic somewhere between the two areas, invite folks to your house for a steak barby–cheaper than a long drive both ways.

      • Not to mention that a ‘little local community involvement’ might ease some tension . . . and you might get some extra good by ‘loaning out’ some of your expensive equipment/making new friends . . .

  7. Check out mid Missouri. Columbia has the highest ratio of doctors to population of any metro in US. You can buy a decent house in CoMo or small acreage nearby in you budget.

  8. Maybe God is telling you to stay put until the storm is over, and not to worry overly about your health. Eat and work right, and trust your genes. It’s not that long till we know how it all works out. 73

    P.S. Buy an auto-defibber. Most other things can wait 25 minutes. Be trained in first aid.

  9. Yepper we see tons of old homes that are at least 100 years old .
    But I’ve never seen a hundred-year-old trailer.
    But I guess anything’s possible

    • lol – good point Bryce. But with all we’ve done, ours is now 30 and will definitely make 60 with all we’ve done to it.
      In the meantime, I’ve seen lots of stick built houses from the 1960s that are teardowns too

      • If you think about it, have you ever seen house movers hauling a house down the highway at 60 mph? But Trailers?
        The one thing you can count on is your manufactured house IS built to the code for it, since the factory will be crawling with FEDERAL inspectors since it is built for Interstate Commerce, not in state. Local building inspectors are sometimes lazy, but the feds usually make sure the manufactured home is built to the plan, and they use jigs to assure they are square.
        If they are tied to the foundation per design (ah there’s the rub, the ‘local’ part) they should be more tornado proof than the stick built, but if not secured they will tend to go flying.
        The problem you face also comes with homes with walls, etc built off site and transported to the site and assembled. I have a relative by marriage in a nice section of Atlanta going through the same issue.
        I am encouraged about the Barndominium, looking to find something similar for first building on our acres outside Birmingham. Envision a large four car garage with loft but downstairs is two garage bays and a great room with beds and baths up stairs. This would be the temp housing and construction building for the main house, then become shop, guest rooms etc. Looking around I see stick built even in the sticks hitting $100/Sq.Ft. but steel buildings with nice architectural additions like an eve on the roof and a porch style entrance run $18-25/sq. ft. erected on your site.
        So this sounds like a plan if your zoning and such will allow it.

    • Start digging a pond and use the dirt to make an above ground Earthship ,it will Outlast any trailer and any house. And the sky is the limit for what its worth.

      • And thirdly the guy with the house worth the half a million dollars and if yours is worth $150,000 and you have all the things that you need on that land and house to survive then I would pick the $150,000 house over the half-million-dollar house

      • you know I was just looking at a building that was built with mud and straw.. they would soak the clay and make a slurry then soaked the straw in it and packed it in a form..
        the building was gorgeous.. we went there just to look at the building.. they stuccoed the outside of it and the inside looks like anything else..
        that reminded me of rammed earth building I seen years ago.. another awesome construction..

    • this is where that cabin near the hospital would come in handy you’re renting it out and living in the country and then the time comes you reverse that you live in the cabin and rent the country out but most people who do go to the city near the hospitals sell out the country and then you have the others who live in the country and have family or people they’re living with him that takes him in and out and then you have others who just live in the city and don’t care about the country

      So one plan things only owning one property

      2nd plan means owning two properties

      A third plan means owning no properties and just renting

      A fourth plan is owning properties and renting them out and living with your siblings or friends or community

      Fifth plan ! Owning nothing and living with relatives friends or community

      Sixth plan !! 6 plan your just filthy rich you can do what the heck you ever you want to you don’t have to answer to anybody you can call a cab from another state and I’ll come pick you up you can have a helicopter come fly you anywhere you want to go and you can go visit X-Pac anytime you want or the Queen of England or the president of Russia or the president of China
      but me I don’t go anywhere I have someone that takes me shopping once a month and the rest of my shopping is done online

      My next door neighbor had a bunch of cattle but he died and left the women there his wife and his daughter and they’re having family feuds with the other siblings and so they pull their cattle off now they’re selling their cattle now who’s going to take care of all that property ,,close to a hundred acres

      When the man of a house or a farm dies that’s when the s*** hits the fan

      Me I’ll probably buy another riding lawn mower so that the UPS guy and the FedEx can deliver whatever I order

      And as long as I can crawl to the front porch to get out of those things and as long as I have enough money to pay someone to do the repairs fix this fix that I’m okay I’m going to stay here instead of using the cabin in the city

      You say this is my goal and this is where I want to die

      that is the decision that you have to make where do you want to die and how because everybody does but everybody doesn’t have that choice if your financially able to have that choice great then you should do that

      but you are married so that choice has to be integrated between the two of you and whoever dies first the remaining person has the vet that choice and decision what they want to do

      I have another neighbor they didn’t have kids but they had a big parcel of land and them he died and the woman sold out and moved to Florida where I suppose she is spending the rest of her life

      I have another neighbor who’s a very old and owns lots of land and his wife just died recently but he has his son and wife and kids would be his grandkids and great-grandkids so they all live on the same property but in different houses

      and I know another person who wasn’t that old but was diseased sTrucking and died

      I have a neighbor that lives across the street he died recently too so his widow and kids are there

      And I have another neighbor who’s older than me but he’s getting ready to die shortly and leaving his wife alone

      so no one can make these decisions for you but it would be great if you could pre plan what you want to do if who dies first

      May all beings be lovingly fulfill ,so be it

  10. Always chuckled about the name Urbansurvival when you have not lived urban in like what 20 years ?…..onerous taxes,nearby neighbors,crime, traffic bla, bla bla…Think it takes walking the walk instead of talking the talk….

    • We do walk the talk – which is why the best way to survive any urban area (500K and up)_ is to leave.
      Or was this (rather obvious point) lost on u?

      • Nothing lost, that is for sure …..but commenting on/making a living off of and doing are two very different things ….Why not just move the quasi pimped out double wide to where you want it? Good luck with move, you will need it.LOL…..

  11. If you want to invest more in your property in order to bring up the sales price, look into the price of bricking the outside of your mobile home. I have seen this done with good results. You will have to do the math to see if it is worth it; ask the realtor, too, and all of your friends out there.

    Also, if you sell as is (as you have written), and you do not get the proposed sale price that you want for the property and all the extras, then you may have to end up having an auction for some of the items that you, right now, state you want to convey, but maybe you need to piece meal them out, which could bring you additional funds.

    I think if you do decide to do this route, sell some of the bigger ticket and novelty items, you should start with your reading audience and then host a barbecue, meet the Ure’s, and open auction day on a Saturday, for example. You could also combine it with an open house for interested parties of the property; advertise, advertise, advertise. Instead of an old fashioned ‘barn raising’, do a new-fashioned MUST MOVE ESTATE PARTY.

    As far as moving, I, for one, have learned a lot from all that you have shared over the years. IF you two want to go to Arizona, then make your plans and go. The sale of your current property, will create a down payment which will put you in a good position with your next home. Once you are where you want to be, you can focus further on reducing your debt.

    Once you are in a city or closer to one, your consulting options open up tremendously, you have so many weekend workshops that you could give. Many people would gladly attend your first workshop, “How to Solar Panel Your Home in 10 Easy Steps” George Ure, seasoned professional extraordinaire explains the nuts and bolts of solar energy.

    Anyway, you get the picture.

    At your age, and in this day and time, I would eye a property where you can always rent another part of the house out, to raise money, as you get older. Don’t laugh, a Mother-in-Law suite is good for a lot of things. You might have GOOD company in the future.

    Many of us have to start with a faith plan and then go from there.

    I would get a move on; once the decision has been made to go, then put your energy into that, the rest will follow with God’s blessings.

  12. Is that your typical MO for a backwoods prepper – stay a few years, get stuff as you’d like it, then move on? Why not build your own community where you are or start a commune? You might be pleasantly surprised at those who might join you! Uretopia at last! Too bad you’re not on a remote island. Quite a few would sign up at the drop of a hat.

    • My farm friends live on a 120 acre property with three ponds. The elderly parents live in a house made one half of log construction and other half recently stick built. My friends home is half really old house with addition of stick built house moved there. They are currently constructing a tiny house for adult son and bride which will have the RV trailer they currently inhabit as an addition. They are working towards having a few additional tiny houses built for rental income.

      George, use your brilliant mind and think way outside the box. I like Richard’s idea of having a mini “commune” community.

  13. Sorry to hear the real estate appraisal was disappointing. I don’t think I would give up quite yet. You might consider advertising it in some sort of newsletter or listing service that caters to the type of person that would appreciate what you have in place. Just because the realtor doesn’t value those things doesn’t mean no one does. Since you are not in a hurry you can afford to be patient.
    Don’t forget being 10 minutes from major hospital corridor and emergency services comes with a high property tax – I pay almost 10K for the privilege. My house is much bigger than I want or need but is paid for and moving at my age – all alone and no living relatives is a daunting proposition.

    • “Just because the realtor doesn’t value those things doesn’t mean no one does.”


      Even more is that the realtor basically confessed to their vision of your property and how they would sell it. Don’t use that realtor.

      Find a realtor that will tell you the pluses, the potentials, the values of your property before they tell you what they think they can sell it for.

      They cannot sell what they cannot see, or do not know.

      We have the same problem with our house we want to sell because we grew too old to keep it up.

      • Exactly, good point. We faced the same thing, a limited visionless realtor. Had to fight to list our land at the price we thought it would go for. He reluctantly agreed as he tried hard to get us down $16,000. Guess what, the land sold in less than 24 hours, made a new high valuation price in the area. WHY? Because people are leaving the cities, looking for a place out in the country, our place had everything they were looking for. We knew that, and our sale proved it. Go with your gut. George has to understand that someone with a vision will see that house as the eventual guest house as they build their dream house on the site. OR, it will work just fine right now for what they want. There is more to George and Elaine’s property than the mobile home feature. Many people have suggested alternative sites to list the property on and there are many – the right buyer is looking right now for the Ure’s property – get it out there for them to find.

  14. Yes George, we have the same issue. And making the mobile home into a house cannot be done either, even though our 64 foot Landola sits on a poured concrete foundation (2 car garage under), basement/playroom/fireplace, stairs upstairs to the “mobile home part”, which has been bumped double wide with Great room, another fireplace and 4 bedrooms. Guess what, even though I have actually removed the walls of the original, it will forever be classed as a mobile home by the town, and banks will not lend money on it (it is chattel). resale has to be for cash at about half the value of the surrounding homes. Something to consider when acquiring such a place.

  15. Think about converting that asset into a stream of income – airbnb, tenants, lease the fields.

  16. Hi George

    Best to auction the equipment off, set a bottom price any left overs Craig list it.It’s too much work other wise.
    I never lived in a place to make money, you should live for the joy of the property. So even if your return is not what you wanted, your lifestyle should have been worth something.. We are adding to our home to have someone live and care for us in our older years. I am your age. 73’s

    • Good points. We have done all the “experiential side” of life – porsches, planes, boats…guess cheap living in the south in a mobile is one of them,, but who would have suspected? LOL

    • Jim,
      Will the live-in help be family, someone you know, or some other arrangement? My wife & I have similar discussions about future “assistance”.

  17. George, maybe try posting your property with a fine description which appeals to a certain mindset on a site like this:

    Tough decision either way, but I’m reminded of an old saying … “best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago or today”

  18. Another thought for seniors: 36 inch doorways to allow mobile or assisted travel (crutches, wheelchair, the Harley…)


    • Our old house built in 1958, has those doors already, thank goodness, as it was no problem accommodating my Dad in his wheelchair, walker, scooter, etc. Good point and a must, especially if one is getting a chance to build a house.

  19. Hi George,

    I look at things a bit differently, and I own both stick built and a trailer home. I bought the trailer dirt cheap just to be able to select my neighbor. Good idea too.

    Trailer houses have a low valuation, but low taxes too. In NM, you can go through some legal hassle and have your property assessed and considered a “permanent structure” This raises both the taxes and the selling price a lot, and for me it’s immaterial since the trailer isn’t that great(yet). I’ll be doing some real work on it though. I see your biggest problem in the perception of death. We all know intellectually that we’ll die, but few of us have grokked it emotionally to the point that there’s little point in worrying about it. My perception is that when I die, it will be at an inconvenient time and place, and the worst thing that can happen is that I be discovered before the animals can eat me. Hospitals will not reverse death – they will only make it far more expensive and probably much less comfortable. The one thing the might do is give you a few more hours/days to get used to it.

    The point I’m making is to live each day as though you might die today and might live forever. You don’t know. Enjoy your time with Elaine, and enjoy the knowledge of how you’ve been a force for good in the world, AND KEEP ON DOING THAT! Forget the defib thing unless you really just want to test it, and if your really want company, fix up your guest house and rent it out for very little to a younger couple(millennial) for a nominal rent and abate that at will for defined work on the property. The rent is so you can evict them in case they screw up too badly. Make sure they’re bondable and bond them so your stuff doesn’t end up on Craigslist. After a few years, you might find you have some new real friends and surrogate grandkids. Enjoy that. They can also do the driving to town when you’re not in the mood.

    I want to do something similar but don’t really have the social skills to pull it off. Between yourself and Elaine, I’m sure you do.

    One thing I would do is to find ways to liquidate your estate with least effort and put the details, including the names of trusted auctioneers and others in a sealed letter to your kids, to be opened before doing anything else. Share it with them now if that seems better – your call. Good luck.

    BTW, if I was in your shoes, I’d keep what you own and buy/rent elsewhere if you must. I would not liquidate. Of course, I’m not you.

    BTW, you’re in good company. Art Bell is an Extra Class Ham, is married, has a net worth way more than both of us combined, and lives in a double wide trailer house.

  20. Nobody will survive what is coming in the USA in a group smaller than 12 people. I refer to testimony from survivors in places like Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Argentina, etc.

    Long ago you should have been building smaller homes and inviting young couples to move onto the property.

    Your failure to connect with the community around you is deadly for any attempt at prepping survival. I have had numerous friends move to rural Texas and be integrated into the community in months. When is the last time you attended a school play or a graduation. Hell, you don’t even go into town for the 4th of July parade or attend a rodeo. If a gang came by and raided your place, how long would it be until somebody noticed?

    There is a lot more to life than just a business model. It’s called community, and anyone who has experienced it will never trade it for a business model. The quickest way to integrate into community is to start asking locals for advice, and for help help doing things that do not require an expenditure on their part. One thing I put out immediately to our expat friends is that I better never hear that they had a problem but they didn’t want to bother us for help.

    Recently, the store/home next door required replacement of its roof which looks to be older than I am. Rosa, who is in her 70’s and who we call the happiest person in Vilcabamba, asked if she could move her store into our public space. In spite of the fact that they could not afford to pay anything, we never even considered the possibility of saying no. We can walk to the farthest corner of the village, and locals will mention their appreciation for helping Rosa and Her husband Maximo. If Vilcabamba survives, we will too. If it doesn’t, we have no interest living in a world that allows its communities to die.

  21. George skip the real estate guys like you would a used car salesman. A 100 + acre adjoining property to El Rancho de Chaos just recently sold for upper 200’s. This is NOT farm land. Timber, bluff along a river and Rocks with a ton of ticks and chiggers. There is a tiny house or more of a shed with a wall down the middle on it. The neighbor listed it with local agents for a year and got no bids and was told repeatedly that he was asking too much. 100K is what he told me. He put an ad in a service that lists land in Mother Earth News type pubs and got hits within a week. He tells me a fellow from Denver is paying 285K cash. He tends to exaggerate but I think he is pretty close.

    It’s all in how you market it and to who. I think you probably have told us that in one way or another

  22. Take what you can and move on. Anyone who needs a bank loan will have to deal with the trailer issue. People who can pay cash have many other places they can buy.

    Of course, I live in a dome, (non traditional house) Banks don’t know what to do with this place either. Assessments have been all over the map. Fortunately, I’ve water frontage on a small deep lake, so there’s that.

  23. R E agents have a secret bb where they can comment on properties. As a fsbo I complained loud enough for the buyers an agent brought by to overhear what a jerk the first agent to come by was. He was the leading area salesman for 2 years running and had other listings to sell. The third agent I was talking with knew every bogus flaw the first clown noted even though she worked for a “competing” agency.

    By using Zillow, local newspaper and hosting my own low pressure open houses I saved a lot on commissions. If you do your own comparables and come up with a fair price you will still have to cope with agents wanting a sale because their clients drag them to your house. If you meet a like able, fair minded agent as a fsbo you can expand to mls by signing with them. That teaches the good old boys a thing or 2 about “he ain’t from around here”s.

  24. I always wonder why people who live in the sticks and want to sell their home seem to advertise for buyers in the same sticks. A step sister had to sell her mom’s nice house in rural NM and someone in the same area got it for a bargain. I thought that was crazy!

    I suggest letting the real estate folks (who often seem to think only locally and only know the local market) do all the paperwork, but *you* do the advertising and taking the bids and perhaps checking if bidders can pay (though maybe the RE folks are [legally?] better at that).

    You proceed to *not* advertise locally or even in Texas — advertise on the West Coast. For example, “Are you worried about how much Fukushima radiation you are breathing these days? Wonder where your next glass of water is coming from — or if there soon will be any water at all — or if the levies will break when a certain dam comes down and you’ll be up to your neck in the wet stuff? Interested in homesteading in a rural area far away from the dying Pacific Ocean? Check out these pictures…” etc. [you may need internet links to back up any claims] You need not mention how close you may be (upwind?) of the Gulf and BP (as that pollution may not reach you) and if you are asked about hurricanes and other bad weather, you can be ready with statics and personal experience.

    There have to be folks on the West Coast who are thinking hard about moving far away even if they love their state(s), and who will think your starting price is astoundingly low compared to West Coast property/housing (and tax?) prices. You could see the start a bidding war: you could make a lot more $$ and the winning buyer would save a lot of $$. Just a thought :)

    • I don’t think George said he would sell at THAT price. I can tell you one thing: If Geo is thinking about switching equities to the Seattle Area:forgettaboutit, at least until the “proverbial” crash appears, but I’d bet you’ll see 100 + year mortgage terms before you see a crash. The boys in the City of London KNOW WTF they’re doing – they’ve been at it a loooooong effing time. What Geo doesn’t mention is Elaine’s input which (having been married 45 years) is a MAJOR deciding factor. Good Luck George

    • Also all those rich people that are leaving Illinois those are some potential real estate clients

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