No Country for Old Man

No Land For You!

I spent the whole day driving.  I put over 400 miles on the car trying to satisfy my only life goal.  A house in the country.

I drove to the small town I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life in and started by looking at a few properties I found on the internet.  They proved to be unsatisfactory as I expected.  You never know what it really looks like from the pictures and satellite images.  You have to experience it to really get the feel.

I stopped by a place that sells manufactured homes.  I was just wondering what they were like.  They’re still Mobile Homes no matter what you call them.  Made of cheap materials.  It was interesting to see but I decided pretty quickly that I was not going to go in that direction.  $60,000 for a house is a good price for instant house but I would not want to live in one.

My next stop was the office of a company called UBuildit.  They help you prepare your plans guide you through the process of building a house.  It would cost $11,000 for their services.  I may consider that.  I’m not sure I could handle it all on my own.  They will draw up my pans for $1.00 per square foot whether I use them or not.  I may take them up on that.  I will need quality plans anyway.  They offered me some useful advice in my land hunting quest.

After some lunch, I took to the backstreets out in the country south of town where I really feel like I want to be.  I drove up and down, left, right, in the middle, round the side and up the back for countless miles looking for the elusive “For Sale” sign.  They were few and far between.  It seems that people are just not selling any land.  If they are, they’re keeping it a secret.

I saw so many places that would have been perfect.  There were hundreds of little dirt driveways leading off into unseen areas through the trees.  THAT’S WHAT I WANT!!!   Nothing for sale.  It’s hard to fathom that in so many hundreds of square miles I can find nothing.  It makes no sense.

After being on the road for 8 hours I was tired and frustrated so I decided to call it quits.  I drove home like a zombie trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with my life if I can’t get the only thing I want.

I came home and immediately took a shower to wash off the external film of failure.  Next I wrote this blog entry to flush out the internal failure.  It helps.

So here I am back in Mundania with nothing to look forward to.  Kind of sucks.  I’m trying so hard to be positive and keep a good attitude.  I’ll feel better in the morning after I sleep it off.

 

 

Land Shopping Frustration

 I’m feeling really frustrated today.  Time is passing quickly and I am still unable to find a few acres of land for my retirement house.

I’ve located the area where I would like to live out the rest of my life but there’s nothing appropriate available for sale.  Literally nothing.  It’s like people don’t want to sell any of their land.  I know I need to be patient.  I totally feel like I did when I was RV shopping.  I got really frustrated then suddenly the perfect one appeared for just the right price.

I’ve been land shopping for years and am really serious right now.  I sure hope that perfect things pops up soon.  It’s starting to hurt.  I spent a good portion of the day scouring the real estate sites but finding nothing.  I’ve finally convinced myself that it’s OK to pay $40,000 for 4 acres.  It really sucks because 30 years ago we sold some family land for $3,000 an acre.  What a stupid thing to do.

Fortunately the area wasn’t really where I would want to live anyway so other than the loss of the value I’m not broken up too much about it.

I desperately want to get out of San Antonio.  I can’t stand it anymore.  It has to be the worst place on earth.  The area I like is near a small town around 150-200 miles away from San Antonio.  Far enough away not to be under the influence of this horrible place.  I’m sure hoping that one day soon my dream land will appear.  It better be soon!

I feel a little better now.  I needed someone to talk to about it.

 

 

Net Worth = Half a Million!

mnyvltI just finished doing my monthly budget update where I enter all the money I’ve spent for the month and add up all the money in various investment accounts etc.

My Net Worth just hit a Half Million!! What now bitches who don’t want to be my friend!

My early retirement is coming up and a life of leisure is on the horizon.  Just this month even after losing $2000 day-trading on the stock market, my net worth went up $5700.   Sweetness!

Suck it you evil bastards who won’t even look at me!

 

Land Shopping Again

The Size of an Acre

Today I went land shopping in the country again.  Still looking for that elusive piece of the American Dream that is good enough to live on for the rest of my life.

There were three areas I planned to look at today.  The first was my first choice from what I saw on the internet.  It was 2 acres.  This was the first time I found 2 acres that was relatively flat so I could really get a feeling for the size.  The back side of it was a small ravine area that was not really build-able.  The left side had a small swamp and a rather large dip where I would have wanted to build my garage/workshop.

I walked around through the high weeds.  There was obviously a singlewide trailer on the spot so there must be electricity, water and a septic tank.  I was unable to find evidence of any.  They must be there below the ground hidden in the weeds.  Having those things readily available would make building there much cheaper and easier.  The land was square enough and was almost private enough to live naked due to the growth of trees along the front fence line and a large treed buffer between neighboring land.  Still… I was not feeling that this was the place I want to die.  It could be made excellent with work.  I’ll keep it on top of my possibility list and hope it stays on the market for a long time.

I drove the 20 miles to the nearby town for lunch.  It was a little further out than I would really like.  I think a 5-15 mile drive would be more acceptable.

I looked at the distance to my next spot.  It was 30 miles from town.  Even further.  I decided not to bother.  I don’t want to have to drive 60 miles round-trip to get something from the hardware store.  30 is acceptable.

I moved on to the third choice.  It was on the way home about 15 miles from town.  Nice drive.  Not too long.  Unfortunately it was in a more developed neighborhood and only 1.3 acres.  Too many ravines as well.  It was fairly private but not rural enough.  Mark that one off.

The trip wasn’t a total waste.  I learned a few things:

  1. Two acres would be OK if perfectly flat and private.  Four would be better though.  One will not work.
  2. Distance matters.  A short drive (<15 mi) one way is enjoyable.  Longer than that and it becomes tedious.
  3. I saw a church in an area that I like.  I might call them up and see if I can post a Land Wanted ad in their newsletter.  Surely there’s some old people in the congregation who will sell me a few acres and make some money.  I could offer a year of free handyman service and expert computer support to sweeten the deal.
  4. Keep trying.  Don’t give up.  Don’t get discouraged.  I still have time.
  5. Road trip!!!

 

 

 

Snapchat Stock

snpchtThe other day I decided to buy some Snapchat stock.  Yeah, I know it has no real value but neither did Facebook.  I went ahead and bought $1000 worth at $23.75 to see what happens.  Of course it is immediately going down.

I bought Facebook back when it as $36.00.  Held it as it sunk into the lows.  Eventually, around a year later it rose back to $36.  Figuring I would be lucky to break even, I sold it at $36 to get my money back.  Now it is at $138.68.  Had I held it I would have made $5100.00.

I feel that Snapchat is in the same condition as Facebook.  It has potential so this time I’m holding it long term.

I don’t use Snapchat.  It’s a kids thing that I have no use for but it is a popular medium that reaches the kids who are otherwise disconnected from media advertising like TV and Radio.  It is just a matter of time before Snapchat figures out how to monetize or is sold to Facebook or Google.  I might buy more when the price bottoms out.  What the hell.  Facebook and Google are doing their best to create an alternative but Snapchat is already the de facto medium of choice amongst the grommets.

I’m not going to miss this opportunity this time.  Let’s hope the gods of fate don’t take this opportunity to kick my ass again.

 

What to do?

mynwhseI’ve been mulling the idea of buying the aforementioned house in the woods.  I’ve been both ways and back and fourth on the issue many times.  It’s still early and I plan to think on it more but here’s the brain-facts so far.

The price is good and I think I can get it even better.  They list it for 99K but mention “Bring all offers.”  I might try offering $75 due to it’s poor condition.  I shouldn’t wait too long though because special things tend to disappear if you don’t act quickly.  This seems special to me though not for everyone.

Assuming I sell my investment portfolio and buy it what would be the plan?

I wouldn’t move right away because that would mean quitting my well-paying job and losing my healthcare which I currently need.  I’m hoping to see what becomes of TrumpCare before I know for sure.  I would probably just hold on to it for 1-3 years before moving.  That would give me time to fix it up a bit and make it habitable.  Property taxes would cost me $2500 a year.  I would have a place to visit and enjoy away from the city that is MINE!  Once it is habitable, I could start looking for a new job in the area.  Something always comes up eventually if you wait.  There’s always something available for a special person like me.

Money spent on buying land or a house is never “lost”.  Just transformed.  If my retirement plan doesn’t go as expected, I can always sell it and get the money back plus more because it will be in better shape than when I bought it and property always goes up.  Even during the recent depression you did not find any property cheap as you would have expected.

I don’t really see how I could lose on this deal.  My investment portfolio wasn’t doing anything anyway.  Even in an up economy over the last few years I ended up down at least 10K.  That won’t happen with property.  I still have plenty left in my retirement portfolio and other investments that are doing rather well.  Even after all expenses, my net worth was up $36k last year.

I think I’ll think for a few more days and get more serious next week. I didn’t hear back from the realtor so I think I’ll find a different one who is more local to the area and see if I can meet him/her there for another look-see and get their impression on the deal.

Once the deal is done, There’s no rush to move or do anything. (After a new roof is installed to protect the remaining salvageable interior.)  I can take my time and have a feeling that my dream is actually within reach.  That would be a wonderful feeling indeed.  Certainly worth the price.  What do you think?

 

 

 

The Dream Resurfaces Again

hitwI know from past experiences that whenever my dream of living in a house in the country outside a small town pushes up from the depths of my repressed desires, there’s going to be disappointment ahead.

I can’t count how many times I’ve chased my dream only to have it dashed to pieces like a wineglass on the tile floor.  Still… The heart wants what it wants.

I’ve had to lower my expectations once again from a small town in the mountains of Colorado to a small town in Texas.  Not what I had in mind but we must make compromises.  Life isn’t as grand as you would expect.

When selecting a small town the following requirements must be met.

1. Must be small and not too close to the virus that is San Antonio.
2. Must have a Lowes, Home Depot or equivalent hardware store.
3. Must have a good quality Grocery Store.
4. Must have a community band.
5. Must have a river.
6. Must be majority White Population.

I’ve found a place that I will leave unnamed because the fewer people who know about it, the smaller it stays.  Suffice it to say, it meets the requirements well.  The only bad part is that it still in Texas where it is hot hot and more hot.  Fortunately the fact that it is not a large city reduces the heat-island effect so evenings have a better chance of being cooler.  We’ve had a recent cold snap in Texas this December and I’ve having second thoughts about wanting to live where it is cold all the time.  Maybe hot isn’t so bad.   If all goes well I will end up with enough privacy that I can be naked all the time anyway and it won’t be as unpleasant.

I’ve also let go of the requirement of building my own house.  It’s still not out of the question. I’m getting older now and it may not be physically possible.  That time may have passed.  I am settling for buying an existing house.  I have been pleasantly surprised to find on Zillow that a few fixer-uppers exist there in my price range of $150K that appear to be nestled on at least an acre of land.  That would work nicely.  I would much prefer a fixer-upper anyway.  The price is lower and I’ll have fun stuff to work on.  I could sell my current house for $150K and easily move to the new place without getting a mortgage.

Now the big question is, When?

I guess, technically, any moment.

PROS:
A. I’ve been at my current job for almost two years now upon which time I will get my full retirement benefits. (If I make it to retirement age.)

B. I’m still close enough to my mom that I can feel not so bad about moving out of town.  I’ll only be about 2 hours away.

C. I don’t need to have a full time job to exist.  I can work part time or for a lesser salary if necessary in a small town.  Working full time sucks anyway.  I can do with more free time to work on the house.

CONS:
A.
I’ve spent a lot of time making my current house awesome.

B. The whole moving process is a pain in the ass.

C. I’m afraid of change even if it is something I want so badly.

Before I make any permanent plans, I need to spend more time in that town and get to know the area better.  I’ll use the upcoming spring and summer to learn more about the town and sit in on one of the community orchestra concerts to see if they are any good. I enjoy being the the band now and it would be one of the things I would miss the most when I leave.

It’s kind of nice to have hope again.  When hope is gone then your whole existence is pointless. I hope that this doesn’t evolve into another obsession leading up to disappointment.  You know it will.  At least this time it is more realistic.

Let’s see what happens.