To Buy a Cabin or Not (CO or WY)

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by tmz1m, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. tmz1m

    tmz1m Been here awhile

    May 1, 2013
    Since a few people bumped it to the top, I thought this thread was owed an update.

    After thinking about this A LOT over the last several months, my wife and I made an offer on a piece of property a few weeks back. We didn't get it, but I think the process of thinking through all of these variables was very useful. What we decided after reading, and really taking to heart, all of these comments:

    Must haves: within 2.5 hours of home; reasonable year-round access (willing to snoesnow or snowmobile the last mile if needed, but no further); ability to pay cash (the number one complaint that I read was (a) it's too expensive, (b) and I'm not using it -- by paying cash we could alleviate a bit of that stress); recreation out the front door; reasonably close to water; reasonable Internet access because I do need to work on weekends frequently.

    Nice to haves: within 1.5 - 2 hours of a ski area. I don't ski and my wife only does once every 2-3 years, but it was something she mentioned.

    After several prospecting trips, we settled on the area west of Laramie. We looked at property around Centennial/Snowy Range Ski Area/Albany/WyoColo/down into northern Colorado. We ended up finding a piece of property that we both really liked. It was a 1/2 acre in a small neighborhood just off of Hwy. 230, north of WyoColo. The property had been for sale on and off for 6 years and the property had come down in price from $80K to $55K. We engaged a realtor who was really knowledgeable--even owned a cabin nearby herself--and made a cash offer of $25K and said it was our first and last. The property had other offers over the years (even submitted by the same realtor), but all had been in the sub-$15K range. The realtor felt like $25K was realistic and a fair price. The property had natural gas, electric, and a well. No covenants so we could put a camper up there for a summer or two while we saved up enough to build a cabin. Backed to the forest, 2/3 mile off of Hwy 230 and a reasonably good chance that someone would plow the road during the winter.

    We didn't get it, and there was no counter. I think what happened is that the prior owners had passed away and their relatives were trying to sell the property. There was probably internal disagreement over what it was worth and so when a "real" offer came in, the ones who wanted to hold on to it had to buy out the others. Or something, who knows. We heard there was another offer that was accepted the same week -- which seems odd on a piece of ground that has been up for sale for 6 years with no real movement. I doubt we'll ever know the true story, but that's my speculation.

    All of that being said, it was really fun and we'll keep looking. I'm sure something else will pop up in the next year and we'll have an even bigger war chest to work with. But definitely an all cash purchase that checks all of the boxes.
    Forthumpin likes this.
  2. _CJ

    _CJ Retrogrouch

    Dec 29, 2010
    The 719, Yo.
    From personal experience, a 1/2 acre is not enough. You never know what's going to happen with the piece of property next to you, and having a good acre buffer in each direction is essential.

    Also, agree that cash takes the pressure off, but there are always property taxes, and they'll definitely go up once you build on the land. Keeping something mobile on the land (RV, tiny house, couple of "sheds" arranged around a central courtyard) makes more sense because property tax won't increase with them, and when a bunch of douchebags from California take over the local government, and make it illegal to keep a camper or anything like that on the land, you can sell the land and clear out pretty easily.

    oldmanb777 likes this.
  3. JMartin

    JMartin Tres Libras

    Feb 25, 2006
    That very fine line. (Denver, CO USA)
    I'm not going to read more than the first post in this thread, but will nonetheless chime in.
    A few years back, I was in a public speaking workshop where we each had to give a 5 minute speech on the topic of our choosing. A co-worker, who had sold vacation properties in an earlier life, spoke on why one should not buy vacation property. The one non-obvious (at least to me) reason he gave was that when you have free time you feel like you have to go to your property, so you end up rarely vacationing elsewhere. The big reason I won't buy a vacation property is that I do all my own home maintenance, and one place is enough.
    Bultaco206 likes this.
  4. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

    Jun 12, 2003
    On the road
    Those people can't wait to get out of California, then can't wait to make wherever they go more like California. :dunno
  5. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

    Jun 6, 2011
    My parents bought vacation property out in the country. The sales pitch talked about the golf course that was going in and the nice clubhouse that was going to be built. So they bought some property.

    When they went to get a septic permit, it turns out the property was under about 9 feet of water in the winter.

    We belong to WorldMark, a time-share company. One of the things I like about the concept is that we're not tied down to one location. We can go to Hawaii, Leavenworth (WA), Europe, ...wherever.

  6. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

    Nov 14, 2006
    Centennial,Co./ Grand Lake,Co
    Unless your in a tightly controlled subdivision, 1/2 acre is pretty small. The economy is raging, so supply and demand will dictate. Looking for what
    every one else is looking for, makes it a bad time to buy. Bide your time, and when the economy tanks again, there will be lots of bargains. All the thoughts here are pretty good.