Saturday, April 2, 2016

Life and Detours -- Apr 2, 2016

Where to start?  How about Payson, AZ?  Nikko and I left there this past Sunday.  We have taken a 1,723 mile detour from our original plan for the summer travel season.  We have landed back in my midwest home town.  

Life brings change and we have to adapt to that...usually fairly quickly.  Our life detour was brought about by a family situation and a personal situation.  The details are not for advertisement in this blog post, but either one or both could have me taking a hiatus from posting for awhile.  So if you don't hear from us, please understand we are tending to, frankly, more important issues than blog posts. I'm sure each and every one of you understand priorities that take us from what we might rather be doing to things that are, well, not so enjoyable.  But, we deal with them!  So that's our take one day at a time and focus on what's important to our lives.  

I will need to score a car while I am here so I'm hoping to soon get out to do some photographing around the area.  Spring is popping out all over the place around here!  I will share those photos with you as they come about. This post isn't without photographs, however!  

So, without further adieu.....some photos from our quick cross country travel this past week. Virtually every photo was taken while I was driving.  I was on freeways/highways most of the time until the last few miles so we're not talking award-winning photos here!  But, a fun highlight of the trip, anyway!  We hit seven states, I think!

Our first night we stayed at the Dancing Eagle Casino in the $10/night RV parking lot just west of Albuquerque, in Casa Blanca, NM
Full hookups!  

Trains are a very prominent means of cargo transport throughout the southwest....
always so colorful against the barren landscape.

From New Mexico...into Texas....

We stayed at a LaQuinta Inn in free parking allowed around there....
like Walmarts

All LaQuintas are pet-friendly!
It was pretty rundown on the outside but the rooms were decent.
The exterior entrances were the draw....for Nikko.  Easy in/out.
While Nikko liked the big bed, the lesson learned here:  

Don't take a guard dog to a hotel! 
Every little sound = bark, bark, bark!
At 2:00 am we ended up sleeping the rest of the night in the RV! LOL!
But I got a long, hot shower out of it!

Moving on....
I really like the monolithic stature of turbines!  

This interesting display was on a gas exit ramp....

Leaving rather early in the morning seems to work best for me when a long driving day is ahead...

Starting to see large grain farm areas now....

There were a few of these giant crosses along the way....

Flat, flat, flat land out there in Texas!
These old structures were interesting...would like to explore them for photos!

Everything is BIG in Texas....including tires!  

From Texas into Oklahoma!  Believe it or not, this was the entrance to a rest stop....

Just north of Tulsa, we stayed in a little casino FREE RV parking area for eight rigs...
           with electric and water hookups!
This was the Quapaw Casino in Miami, OK.  Really nice employees there!

I took the end space next to the big open field...

At Oklahoma City, I turned over 50,000 miles on the RV.  
Not bad for a 26 year old vehicle....that's like driving only 2,000 miles/year!
But I've put about 14,000 of those miles on it myself since June 23, 2014.

If you are a fan.....this exit may be for you!

Entering the Show Me State of Missouri....

Pretty spring blooms all along the highway....

Nikko has much better travel accommodations than this bovine!

This was a very cool and creative rest stop! 
Fashioned after the infamous Route 66...

Finally......St. Louis!
Lots of traffic and we had just gone through a major rain storm....not fun driving a 30' RV!

Getting closer!  Illinois state line!

We were on 70E straight across Illinois.....rain, rain, rain...not conducive to picture taking!

Across we went into Indiana!

Right across the line into Indiana, we stopped for the night in Terra Haute at....

The parking lot was huge, so we pulled into a corner surrounded by trees.
Really quiet for a good  night's sleep...
I treated myself to a pot roast dinner!  

Three hours now from our land....

Landed!!  That's the end of this journey!  We traveled 1,723 miles...left Sunday morning, arrived Thursday morning and spent $60 on accommodations.  Not bad!  Gas prices averaged $1.93/gal and my gas mileage hit almost 8 mpg due to driving highway miles with cruise control most of the time.  All in all, a good trip, albeit very focused with no "touring around".  

So......time to focus on "life" now.  Hopefully everything will work out and we can get back on the road without too much time passing!  I'll stay in touch as I can.  

Of course, as usual, any purchases through my Amazon link will be greatly appreciated!  I will be having some extra expenses coming up now....every little bit will help!  Remember -- your prices are never affected. Thank you!

At first I didn't get what these the video.
Cool idea, especially for busy households!

Enjoy your spring wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Re-Look at Real Estate -- Mar 22, 2016

As I mentioned in my last post from here in Payson, AZ, I am parked in a rather unique little community.  It is unique relative to many places I have visited and lived.  It may or may not be unique to real estate in your area.  Either way, I think this community shows us that there can be a misconception of certain types of housing….specifically, “manufactured homes”, “mobile homes”, and “trailer homes”.

Historically, in many – if not most – areas of the U.S., this genre of housing is not considered a “winner” when it comes to overall appreciation.  Yes, the property value or lot value may appreciate to some degree, but the dwelling itself often depreciates...and the lot will usually only take you so far. This is based primarily on the materials used to construct these homes…and their “foundations”.  They are not built like your traditional “sticks and bricks” housing.  The general consensus is the quality of construction is substantially less stable than your typical stick home, therefore, a big loss in value. No matter how you cut it, the construction differences are a truth that is hard to deny.  

However, with this said, I will attempt to show you that misconception and overall negative real estate “advice” about these structures is not taken to heart in this little community. It is just a block or two from all the main “goings on” in Payson….a town with a population of about 15,300.  Payson is about 1-1.5 hours northeast of the well known [and quite expensive] cities of Scottsdale, AZ and Fountain Hills, AZ. 

This community is dotted with a few “sticks and bricks” homes…not particularly “fancy”, but traditionally built.  There are probably about 55-65 lots here…some larger than others, but overall, the homes are close together.  The majority of homes are “manufactured homes” which have been here probably about 20-25 years or more.  So, there is nothing new about this area to enhance values.

Now….let’s look at some examples of what I’m talking about….

This home has had a nice screen porch added...

This house was being worked on last summer.  It needs work, but has potential.
No one is living in it yet, but it is on a quite large corner lot and has a small addition on the back.

This home is well maintained and enclosed with a chain-link fence which is 
common here and not frowned upon at all.
Many homeowners here have dogs!

What's the point??

This 3 bedroom/2 full bath manufactured home is a good example of my point of this blog.
Last summer it sold for $65,000 and needed massive work.  The buyer put maybe $25,000
into it, including a new furnace and A/ baths and new kitchen, plus overall "fixing".  
He flipped it in December for $140,000.  Do the [profit] math!
I had a tour and the renovations were masterfully done...nothing "cheap" about it!

The manufactured home below is currently for sale for just under $140,000.  Nothing has been done to it and no one has lived in it since it was purchased about 2 years ago for approx. $111,000.  (Again, do the [profit] math!)  It has a double garage in the back and doesn't need "renovating"....just some make it a really great space.  Two "sticks and bricks" homeowners within the community are quite interested in it and totally agree with the asking price. Just to show, selling their stick home to purchase a manufactured home is totally realistic for them!  They love the lot, the fenced back, the garage and the single level living with a great layout.

The stick house next door to the above manufactured home is going through a major renovation and will probably appraise for $200-225,000.  The fact it's neighbors are a manufactured home and a somewhat dilapidated mobile home has no affect on it's potential value.

A few more examples....

This home just sold for somewhere between $200-220,000!

There are a few typical "mobile homes" -- some better than others.
 This one is kinda cute in it's own way, albeit a little cluttery.

So, there you have an overview of this little community.  For most, it is year-round living with four seasons.  For others, their homes are second homes to escape the summer heat in the Phoenix valley.

Often when we are on vacation, passing through small towns and communities, we say, "Oh...this looks like a nice little town...maybe we could get a place here sometime".  Well....research these types of neighborhoods. What you might initially think of as a less than optimal area because of general consensus commentary, could very well be a good investment for a "flip", a second home or eventual full time living. These homes are easy, single level living as we get older.  Most are convenient to shopping and services.  Don't judge a book by it's cover!

The other type of housing here are birds' nests!  They love the pines!  This little house finch has been working day in and day out on her new home!  Her tree of choice is about 18" from my window. 

The male is reddish in color.  He's not much of a builder but he guards the doorway!

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  The weather here is still perfect.  Nikko and I are enjoying it very much!

As always, thank you so much for your purchases through the Amazon link here on my blog.  Every order, large or small, is appreciated!

Speaking of guarding, Nikko sleeps next to me with his head propped on a pillow at the window.  He pushes his head through the curtains so he can see everything going on out there in the dark.  Any movement or unusual sound provokes a mean growl or ferocious barking.  I feel safe!