What are we thinking?
When we left our stick home behind over two years ago in search of the next big thing, we had dreams of homesteading on one of those affordable 35-acre Colorado ranch parcels we kept seeing in the United Country magazine. Now we know most of those are in wide open flatland or covenanted communities that don’t want our type.
At some point we re-focused our search on smaller lots in more accessible subdivisions. Maintained roads are a good thing, and you can still be surrounded by vacant land, or at least situated so it feels like it. But a fixer-upper?!? We never thought twice about the idea. Been there. Done that. In a big way.
But then a realtor showed us an unfinished new home in the Rosita Hills of Westcliff – very unfinished, but a doable project. Small lot, secluded feeling, beautiful views, and someone else’s nightmare.
Later we discovered the most awesome piece of land in Badger Creek area of South Park County, CO. Much farther out there, way off the grid. And a much bigger nightmare.
But it does have a lot of awesome terrain and a Quansut hut we could insulate for storage. Yeah, right. The views weren’t that great.
The solar power system in our trailer is more robust than the makeshift one installed at this place 30+ years ago! And upon our second visit, we realized this property had become a dumping ground after two old RVs mysteriously appeared, both without license plates.
Then we saw this cute little Indian Mountain cabin on one acre with the awesome garage, big deck and snow capped views. It had everything we needed. Everything that is except a Certificate of Occupancy. After our offer was accepted we found out why this place seemed to good to be true. It was.
A trip to the Park County Building Department revealed an insane amount of work, back fees, and red tape required if we ever wanted the property to appreciate in value. I mean really, why would any property owner put so much work into something the bank owned, and not do it legitimately or up to code? But I digress. We ran from that deal. Fast.
Then there is the house going up for auction on two acres and a cistern. Again, everything we need, except a well, easy trailer access, and that “This is it!” feeling. While we understand we must bend somewhere with our extensive property criteria list, we’re not about to settle.
We are thinking smart.
The whole fixer upper thing idea just makes sense. If we can find that perfect place which meets our immediate needs and offers projects we can take on over the years. After all, we already have our own home. We just need a place to park, a place to dump and an insulated place to store some stuff. Water and power would be nice too.
As long as the home we find doesn’t have serious structural damage, we can manage. Unlike this ultimate nightmare we saw. A tragedy really. Which could have been avoided with proper engineering, I’m sure. Call it a lesson in cutting corners …
This beautiful log cabin has overstressed structural members and rafters that no longer bear on the ridge beam – the ridge beam that is held in place with come-alongs. The beam that is out of plumb with the log post below. Not to mention the basement beam that is missing a center support post.
What are we thinking? We are thinking that perfect project place is out there. Somewhere. And we’re thinking that somewhere is here near Fort Collins, CO – one of the top ten places to buy in the nation. So we’re thinking we’ll just be hanging out here until we find it, or until it starts getting cold again.