This is the second post in a series of articles about my wife and I searching for, buying, and developing a BOLRH (bugout location retirement home). If you didn’t read the introductory article you might want to do so now.
So, we are back home and about a week later our agent called and said the 40a property was in-fact going to be put on the market but he didn’t know the price for sure. He would monitor the situation and get back to us when he had the details. Then we started to worry just a bit. Yeah, we hadn’t really worked out all of the details on paying for it. We had a pretty good idea but no real details figured out. We talked to him about owner financing and he told us that the owners were not interested in that. We didn’t want a conventional mortgage but we might be looking at that. He talked to a couple lenders and no one was in the lending business for “land only.” It was time for my wife and I to have a hard conversation. And remember, we had only seen a very small part of the land and only from the road.
Two days later he called, the price was very acceptable to us and we told him to make a full-price offer. He did, and then we had to finalize how we were going to pay for it. Making a long story short, the purchase price came out of our IRA/401(k) accounts. Yup, we took money out of our savings and we were going to pay cash for it. Yes, we would have to pay taxes and yes, my wife would have to pay the penalty. But, we did the math and we were OK with that decision. And, there was this incredible emotional and secure feeling about owning the property outright. Yes, no mortgage payments!
Then disaster struck.
The owners, a trust, had put a very attractive price on the land. Our agent called us the next day, they rejected our offer immediately and didn’t counter. They figured they had priced the land too cheaply based on us putting in an offer so quickly and for the full price. Our agent tried to explain to them that it was all about timing, and we were ready, willing, and able to buy it. The owners still rejected the offer. Our agent tried to do his dead-level best to encourage us to be patient and that all was not lost. It didn’t make much of an impact on us, we were heart-broken.
You see, we had nothing but the feeling, a prompting, that this was the right property for us…period. We had prayed about it and we were sure that this was the property that we were meant to have, meant to build on, and meant to retire on…and if needed, the property to face TEOTWAWKI there as well. But, they had turned us down. There was something wrong with this picture!
After about five days we had gotten over it, I told our agent to keep looking, and my wife and I were ready to return to looking once again. Back to the computer and online ads.
The day after all of that our agent calls…they want to accept our offer. What???? There was no offer to accept, they had turned it down. But, they wanted to revive it, our agent had already told them “yes” because he knew we still wanted it and that it was the place for us. We agreed, signed more papers, and we were back in business. They wanted the original closing date, which was ten calendar days away. I figured no way.
Yes, way! The title company was amazing…we had the closing papers in our hands in a matter of days, we had already sent in a decent deposit, plus the escrow funds. We had to review the well report, the title search results, and a ton of other papers as well. The well report was encouraging, it was a good well, plenty deep, and 2” larger in diameter than the regular domestic well. That means that more water can be pulled from the well than just a normal domestic (or house) well. The reserved rights were normal for the area and we were satisfied with it.
With the final amount due figure in hand we wired that money immediately. And then the waiting game started. See, the deal isn’t really done until the seller’s have signed all of the closing documents. We were nervous that they might back out again.
Three days later we got word that the title company had just recorded the deed…the property was ours! Less than two days later we were in my truck pulling our trailer loaded with the UTV and a bunch of tools, etc. The drive was amazing, we were like two kids on our second date.
When we got there it was really special to pull in through our gate, located in our fence, protecting our property. We found the right parking spot, got out and had a prayer to gave thanks for the incredible blessing that had just been entrusted to us. We were home…our home…and it felt absolutely amazing.
We immediately started to look around, exploring our nirvana. However, when you go camping what is the first thing you are supposed to do? If you said “set up your tent” you would be right. And we didn’t.
Since this was the 4th of July weekend it is technically in the first few days of the Arizona “monsoon season.” Now, don’t get too carried away…there is no “monsoon” in monsoon season in Arizona. For July and August maybe 2″ – 3” of rain will fall each month during normal times…meaning the monsoon season. And here came the rain. We ended up putting up the tent in periodic waves of light rain. But we got it done just in time for the clouds and rain to disappear. We were off to do more exploring.
Dang! You know it honestly felt like Christmas morning knowing you got really cools toys under the tree. We walked around and loved it. 40a is a fairly good sized piece of property when you are used to a building lot in the city. We just enjoyed the walk. But, we also had another important task at hand…dinner! And not just any dinner…Grumpy Jakes BBQ !
We got back to the property just at dark and headed to our little campsite, I had the basics of a fire ready, lit it up, and we sat there for a long time talking about the future, retirement together, what the cabin would look like, and how lucky and blessed we were. Then the next blessing dawned on us…we could see the lights of Taylor, AZ off in the distance. It was such a cool sight to see, but it got better.
We decided to turn in for the night, it had been a long day. The fire had died down, I banked it for the night, we turned off the solar LED lights we had brought with us. (I will be doing a review on these little beauties.) The darkness settled in all around us. And here came another little piece of amazement…the stars. Rather, I should say the “universe” came out for us to see. I had forgotten what it is like to see trillions of stars in an ink-black sky. We just laid there in amazement and gratitude.
The next morning I got up and fixed a cup of hot chocolate…and then it hit me. It was cool enough for “hot” chocolate! It was in the lower 60’s that morning and I was loving it!! An easy 15 degrees cooler than back home. Since my wife is not a morning person I struck out on a early morning hike on my own. I was in heaven! I just walked around drinking my hot chocolate and enjoyed the morning. Even though it was light outside I heard a bunch of coyotes off in the distance. No, not the dirt bag Mexican coyotes that traffic in humans, drugs, and cartel cash…I mean the four-legged versions. Hearing the coyotes reminded me that I would have to set-up the property to be a safe place for our dogs as well.
Finally I heard my wife calling to me in the distance…yes, “distance” and that has a very nice ring to it. No, not because I don’t want to hear my wife, I just like there being distance on our property. I headed back that way and we had a great breakfast of eggs and bacon omelet kind of thing, more hot chocolate, and then off for more exploring…this time in the UTV.
Here are some of things we found –
- Most of the fence was on the ground. It was obvious that some had been cut, some had just fallen, some “T” posts were actually missing. Cattle were roaming around on the property. One of those “rights” I referred to discussing title issues were grazing rights. The ranch that this 40a piece was cut out of reserved the right to graze cattle. If the property owner didn’t want cattle to graze on the property they had to fence it to keep the cattle out. We had some work to do.
- There is a two-track cutting the property in half. It wasn’t well used, but it was, or had been used. We traveled it from one end to the other and knew we had to put the fence back up where the two-track had crossed over. Yes, the fence was laying on the ground and whoever had driven on the two-track had simply driven over the fence as it lay on the ground.
- There is a seasonal creek that runs pretty much parallel to the two-track I mentioned above. It cuts the property in half. We love it! It adds so much character to the property it is amazing. There are some very square looking natural stone in the creek bed that we want to haul out and do something with around the cabin. And, for some of you…there is some black sand in the creek bed…you know what that means 😉
- There will be plenty of firewood for our wood burning stove.
- There is deer out there aplenty…and some elk as well.
Let me delve into the “cabin” for a minute. Remember I mentioned that it had a manufactured home on it? Well, more like a mobile home in reality. It was added onto and nicely skirted…at one point. The whole place now is nothing more than a rat trap, literally. It will have to be removed, destroyed, or something because it is completely unusable for anything. And on top of that, we don’t like the physical location of its placement.
Why is that important? It has the well close to it and it has a septic system already in-place. Those two things are important to be sure.
A great night with a big campfire watching the stars come out. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing a star filled sky is out away from a city, or even a town. It can truly sooth the soul. Add in a campfire and you have a combination that can make a man know he is where he should be…home. We turned in when we decided we were tired, no need to worry about what time it was, time is not important out there.
The next morning was already a schedule of events, church. We got up fairly early, enjoyed a Mountain House bacon and egg breakfast, cleaned up a little and head into town for church. We were amazed…less than twenty minutes later we were pulling into the church parking lot. Second surprise…the parking lot was full! As we were walking into the building people were smiling, greeting us, shaking our hands, and generally being small-town friendly.
We spent the rest of the day just enjoying ourselves with the exception of moving a bunch of stuff into the storage building. We want to starting moving our stuff that will eventually be permanently there. But, there is no secure storage on the property itself. Problem solved…storage building. We rented a 10’ x 15’ storage room at a storage business about 15 minutes away. We had brought stuff with us, it found its new home in the storage building. We will have to upgrade to a 10’ x 20’ pretty soon. We are on the waiting list.
We enjoyed the rest of our initial stay and hated to leave, but daily life was beckoning to us, it was time to go.
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