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Posted by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 3/9/2016

When opportunity knocks, Sandra and I have generally opened the door. And it knocked again a couple weeks ago.

The drive to our lot is shared through an easement with two other lots to the west. One is still undeveloped, the other has had a house on it for 30 years and sits adjacent to ours. The drive needs some serious work, most importantly water management, but also could stand widening, and new road base. While skiing past recently, we noticed that it was occupied and went to inquire if it was the owners. It was, and we introduced ourselves to the wife and discussed that we wanted to improve the drive. While there, we got the view of the landscape from their location, and it was stunning! Straight down the slope with a view across the entire length of the valley, 30 miles long. The best lot in the resort and while ours has a similar view, this certainly outdid that. Sandra casually asked if they had ever thought of selling? The response in body language was positive and the woman said she'd talk to her husband when he got there a day later.

Now - I'm sure you're asking several things. Can Last Rodeo not make up their minds?!
Why in heck would they want another piece of property when they were supposed to embark on their own build? Well, we could move in, and after doing some remodel, begin work on a much smaller house on our lot. Then move into it and have the first house as a complete rental. When it becomes time to sell, we would have two smaller homes, which should be easier than one larger, and since they are on the two best lots in the resort, they should be easy to move.

Two days later I got a call from the husband. First, he said we could improve the drive as we wanted, but the current condition suited him just fine as little as they use the house and thus he wouldn't contribute to the cost. That was the first inkling to his personality. While I hadn't asked for financial help, I had held out hope in the back of my mind for some, much as I would have done if the situation was reversed.

He said they might very well be interested in selling. They were leaving the next day due to illness, but he gave us the access code for us to get in and look at it in detail, which we then did several times over the next week.

The exterior of the house is not pretty at all and it had not been maintained probably since it was built. Inside it was a three bedroom house with two bedrooms in the lower section, and a master on the main level. The inside, while lodgey with 1x6 T&G on the main level vaulted ceilings, was chopped up, without much thought. The kitchen was tiny and OLD. It was obvious that here too, nothing had been maintained as it should have, nothing had been updated (anywhere in the house). Original appliances with the microwave door using duct tape as a replacement hinge.

Windows, while double-pane, certainly would not be low-E, and there was a complete wall of them (looking at that gorgeous view), but with the original 30-year-old low-efficiency furnaces I began thinking about propane costs to heat. And a number of windows needed replacement for various reasons. It needed a new roof, it needed grading around the foundation as dirt has washed up against the siding over the years. It needed repairs to the exterior trim, complete refinishing of the siding, etc. In short, the owner had bought the property 23 years ago and had not put a dime in for maintenance or updates in all that time.

To conclude this long-winded story, although we really wanted to make this opportunity work, and Sandra and I could have done much of the work ourselves, the numbers just didn't work. After a week of negotiating with the owner, we couldn't come together. And the house would have still been three bedrooms with a floor plan that wouldn't allow a reasonable way to add a fourth (which really is required as a minimum for the location and future resale), and about $100K worth of repairs and updates.

So - we concluded our discussion and told our new draftsman to move full speed ahead on our plans. 

While is always good to answer the door when opportunity knocks, you don't always let it in.


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