Author Topic: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land  (Read 7346 times)

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Offline db4570

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Hi, everyone.

I’m starting to look for little chunk of land (5-50 acres), and could use some advice.

My goal is to have a place with a modest little cabin or cottage where we may eventually retire or “snow-bird”, and visit on a semi-regular basis until then. We are currently living in Upstate New York, where we are probably anchored for some years for job reasons. We also own a big rural piece of property and cabin in Northern NY which we will have to hang on to for a while, for family reasons. It’s not our ideal spot for several reasons.

Our goals for our land, in rough order, are:

Significantly warmer and sunnier in the winter than the Northeast. Ideal climate would be moderately dry, sunny, not too hot and not too cold. Like California, but not in California.

Aesthetically pleasing: interesting topography, foliage, etc. I really need a bit of a view, and maybe a little altitude. Mountains are a big plus. Hills are better than nothing.

Low taxes, and general low government meddling/bureaucracy.

Affordable to purchase.

Friendly, decent, classy, people.

A lot of the South seems like it would be just brutally hot in the summer. Humidity is a big negative.

I’ve spent a week or so exploring in the New Mexico mountains north of Silver City, and really liked it. So I would consider something in that area, or elsewhere in the mountains in the Southwest. Maybe the mountains of AZ, which I’m not as familiar with. I get the feeling AZ might be priced higher than what I have in mind, though.

My experience here in Upstate NY is if you come up with $20 grand or so, you can find a nice undeveloped 5-10 acre chunk in the country, usually with decent neighbors, and some woods or water or hills, and you build your little cabin, and relax.

But virtually everywhere I’ve looked in the Southwest and Texas, it seems like there are very few of these nice little rural chunks of raw land unless they are part of some huge “subdivision” or “community” divided into dozens or hundreds of lots. A lot of them have neighborhood associations or facilities or “resort” amenities of some sort. You look at the pictures and it doesn’t seem like there are any neighbors yet. It is all rather unappealing, and seems a little weird or shady. It seems rare to see someone just selling off their little chunk of land in the woods.

Can anyone offer help, suggestions, resources, or experiences for finding the sort of thing I’m looking for in the New Mexico mountains or elsewhere in the Southwest?

Thanks!

David

Offline Steve

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2011, 08:57:58 PM »
see steve land for trade

Offline db4570

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2011, 05:52:39 PM »
see steve land for trade

Yeah, I saw that, couldn't figure out what you had, or wanted. Not very clear.

Offline dug

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2011, 05:09:16 AM »
I live near Silver City, NM. and like it very much. However, realtors here love promoting it as "the land of four gentle seasons". Don't believe it!
Though summers are very pleasant it is generally very windy in springtime and late frosts usually kill fruit tree blossoms and make gardening a challenge. Winters are colder than most people expect though it usually warms up nicely during the day. As soon as the sun drops below the horizon it can go from 50 degrees to 10 before you have time to grab your coat!

There are a lot of interesting pieces of land for sale here though, and prices are reasonable compared to Arizona and California.

Also, I lived in Arizona for quite some time and in some ways preferred it to NM. Though summers are brutally hot I can tell you from experience that 100 degrees at 10% humidity is more comfortable than 80 degrees at 90% humidity. The Sonoran desert (So. AZ. below 3500 ft.) is absolutely gorgeous and has more diverse plant life than you can find just about anywhere in the West. Tucson and Phoenix are gobbling it all up though so it is more difficult (and more expensive) to find a nice chunk of land.

Offline rwanders

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2011, 06:20:07 AM »
You might check out areas in northern Nevada----avoid desert areas around Las Vegas and areas close to Reno and Lake Taho will be too expensive. One plus---Nevada has no state income tax.
Rwanders lived in Southcentral Alaska since 1967
Now lives in St Augustine, Florida

Offline db4570

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2011, 06:41:20 PM »
Thanks for the information, guys.

I've been watching the weather trends around Silver City, and it definitely gets cold there. I can handle that, because I don't mind a brisk winter day that is clear and sunny. In the Northeast, and especially Upstate New York, it's the regular rain and dampness, the snow that eventually turns into a grey slush that never goes away, and the constant cloudy gloominess that really gets us down. Plus winter seems to last forever here. It snowed today, for instance. Enough, already.

I like the idea of living up in the mountains to get away from the heat a bit in the summer.

Dug- do you find that most land for sale is in these big subdivisions? Do you see little chunks of land for sale in the mountains that are just off by themselves? I want to move away from the Northeast to avoid subdivisions. But maybe that's just the way property is sold out there.

If you see any 5 acre or larger pieces in the mountains that may be interesting to me, I'd really appreciate it if you dropped me a note, so I could check it out.

I would consider Arizona, too, but definitely want to get away from the Phoenix sprawl. Again, mountains and trees are a plus.

Rwanders: thanks for suggesting Northern Nevada, which I have spent a little bit of time in, and thought it was nice. But I am wondering if the winters are going to be much more harsh up there? This is why I was trying to stay as far south as possible. But it might not be a big issue.

Other ideas and information welcome!

David

Offline dug

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2011, 05:36:48 AM »
Quote
Dug- do you find that most land for sale is in these big subdivisions? Do you see little chunks of land for sale in the mountains that are just off by themselves?

Most land around here is individual parcels. Speculators attempted to profit by sub dividing land several years back during the real estate boom but mostly they did not take off and remain largely unoccupied, money for most folks in this area is tight. I have seen many interesting properties for sale here over the last several years, several that gave me a bit of buyers remorse about the place I purchased.

We paid a premium for out 10 acres because it fronts a small river (Mimbres river) and around here permanent water is gold, even if it is only used as a mental stimulant. Lots of trees everywhere in this area but away from riparian areas the land is dominated by Junipers, Pinion pine, and scrub oak- sparsely spaced. Near rivers there are many large Cottonwoods, Sycamores, and other deciduous trees that provide a cool respite from the surrounding drylands. 10 miles up the road and 5 or 600 ft. higher and you move into land dominated by pines, a completely different landscape.

In the mountain west elevation is critical and must be considered in order to live in the type of environment you prefer. When I lived in Tucson for example, you could go from the Sonaran desert -Saguaros, Mesquites, Palo Verdes, etc. to firs, Spruce, and Aspen groves in a short 25 mile drive that takes you from 2500 to almost 10,000 feet. Basically the equivalent of driving from Mexico to Canada as far as plant and animal life zones. Higher elevations are colder and have longer winters- vice versa for lower elevations.

As far as mountains, you can't get away from them in the Silver City area- they are everywhere!  :) In any mountainous area, I would look for property on a south facing slope,  and/ or  on the south/east side of a valley because it can make a big difference in the amount of daylight you will get. Folks living on the other side of the valley from us lose the sun an hour or more before we do, and snow stays on the ground much longer.

Good luck!

Offline db4570

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 06:30:12 PM »
Hi, Dug

I'm glad to hear that one can find small independent pieces of land.

Do you think it's possible to find about 5 acres in a nice spot in the mountains, without neighbors being right on top of me, for maybe $20k or so, or is that not going to happen? Some trees and the potential for water from a well or otherwise are bonuses. I don't mind being an hour or so out of town.

Thanks!

David

Offline fourays

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2011, 11:10:12 AM »
we bought 40 hill top acres  of heavily wooded Pinion pine and Juniper in NW AZ for $1k/acre about 18 months ago. it's about 6000ft elevation and the climate is bearable  for camping 9 months of the year. since we bought it we've put up a 10 x 12 barn, built an outdoor kitchen and just finished a canvass roofed 10 x 16 platform for a wall tent. there is land available for competitive prices, since the RE market here is basically dead. we have no home owners associations, but the county has some strict building codes. being so far out of the way, everyone around us ignores them.

Offline Alan Gage

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2011, 12:34:02 PM »
Interesting conversation. I've looked for similar land in NM and AZ (mostly AZ) without a whole lot of success. I've visited SE AZ a few times and really like it but it's hard finding land for sale online. If you go to realtor websites the prices seem ridiculously expensive and if you look on Ebay or Craigslist you get a lot of questionable junky looking land that's only 1 or 2 acres.

Maybe you need feet on the ground in the location to find the good buys? I'd love to know where to look.

Alan

Offline dug

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2011, 11:54:37 AM »
Alan, you are building in Iowa (my home stomping grounds) are you looking for a winter getaway?

I think you are right about getting your feet on the ground in order to find what you are looking for. We looked in SE AZ also, Cochise county, including The Dragoons, Winchester, Peloncillo, and my favorite- the Chiricahua mountain range. We looked at some land in a really cool (tiny) town called Portal at the mouth of Cave Creek canyon and it was awesome, unbelievable views (think Yosemite) but also quite pricy. 5 or 10 miles away in the flat playa between mountain ranges land is cheap with impressive wide open, but lonely views. Our problem with that area was no schools, 60 miles from the nearest hardware store, over 100 miles to nearest HD... it's really out there!

I still think the Sonoran desert is the jewel of the Southwest, though long since "discovered" unfortunately. Even the oppressive summer heat can't keep multi millionaires from buying land at exorbitant prices, nor investors from razing large swaths of pristine desert to make way for tract housing and golf courses. Some of it is not yet ruined though, and I still love going back there. The best spots are local secrets, and the locals don't divulge this information easily!

Beware the good buys in AZ, NM, etc., they often require ungodly deep (and expensive) wells, or trucking your water in. 

 

Offline Alan Gage

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2011, 06:41:45 AM »
Dug,

Yes, a winter getaway. Winters really wear me out and I love SE Arizona (Chiricahuas). I try to get down there every year or two for at least a couple weeks. It would be nice to do a longer stay and have a place to call home while I'm there. I camp or sleep in my van every night so it getting dark so early in winter makes for really long nights. It's hard to stay up past 7 or 8 in a tent if there's nothing to do. Then you wake up at 4 or 5 and still have 3 hours until day light.

All I really need is a small piece of land for a little shack or something to pull a small trailer onto. Somewhere I can stretch out and have a few lights. Maybe a porch to sit on. But then I can't help but start thinking of getting 5, 10, 20, 40 acres and having a real spread and putting up a real house. No finances for that now though and I think if I were to have something that could function as a semi-permanent residence I'd want it either in, or close to, the mountains. At least higher elevation to make the summer more bearable.

The Portal/Paradise area would be a dream but, like you said, quite expensive. Coming from the prairie I'm also attracted to the land on the west side of the Chiricahuas in the valley, I guess you could call it, between ranges.

I almost bought some land on Ebay last winter on a decent road that was about 1/2 mile from the Leslie Canyon NWR but couldn't pull the trigger without seeing it first. Price wasn't too bad ($1200/acre for 6 acres) but still a bit more than I would have liked. Something like that would be ideal for me.

I don't know if I'll be able to get down there this winter or not. I'll hopefully be finishing the interior of my house and might not have the money to take off. Looking forward to getting down there and checking things out in person though. It was after the last trip that I really started thinking about buying some land down there so I haven't done much land hunting in the area yet. Sounds like I'll need to make some local contacts.

Thanks,

Alan

Offline hpinson

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Re: Need help finding New Mexico or other Southwest mountain land
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2011, 08:51:24 AM »
Two resources:

Blake Farley in Silver City.  Prices there are going up, up, up there.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/blake.realliving   (copy and paste the whole link)

Bill Sullivan in the Cuba/ Chama area, which is more affordable.

Both are honest good people to work with. I think they will act as buyers agents.

http://www.northernnmland.com/

Both NM areas have real winters.  A lot of what is for sale is waterless, or water is at great depth. Be very careful because some are  willing to sell you waterless land -- make sure you have some proven water source lined up.

Bad news about the Chirachuas.  The fire has caused a lot of damage in the mountains themselves I understand.  It is very pretty to the west there. East of Portal would be brutal in the summer.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 10:37:55 AM by hpinson »

 

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