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Old 08-03-2017, 01:45 AM
Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 is online now
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Default Bought Property near St Johns AZ

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My wife and I will be retired two years the end of this month and we signed the papers on a property in AZ back at the end of May. We still have things to finish up here in CA and probably won't be totally moved for a while yet. I also need to get a shop built there to house all my stuff.

House is a 1452sqft 2bed/2bath log cabin on almost 40 vegetated acres, 9 miles east of a place called St Johns (pop:3400). The house sits at 6400' elevation and while technically still a desert it is cooler and wetter then 29 Palms and in a micro-climate that allows trees. Property cost us $160K and seller paid closing costs.

From horizon to horizon I can see (with bino's) eight other houses. Closest neighbors are almost 1000yds away with the next set of houses right at a mile. The property is on a County maintained gravel road, has electricity, well, septic and cell service (Verizon). Property is fully fenced (4 strand barb wire) which the realtor said the rule of thumb was $10K for 40acres. Still have to do something to keep goats in though.

The house is 14 years old but has never been lived in full time. First owner's wife got ill and needed to be closer to major medical before they even moved in. Second owner bought it as their future retirement place but after his wife spent the first nights there she refused to go back...saying it was, "too quiet"..."too dark"..."too isolated"...etc. They are from Los Angeles so I imagine St John's was quite a shock to her.

There aren't really any jobs there but we are retired so it doesn't matter. There is a small grocery/hardware store, a chain auto parts, a Subway and Dollar General. Two Mexican restaurants and two American (one of which doubles as the Italian place) and if I want pizza it's just a local place. The closest McD's, Walmart, Home Depot, etc is 60 miles away in Show Low. This wasn't such a change for us as Walmart is already 20 miles away here in 29 Palms, with the closest big city (Palm Springs) being 50+ miles each way.

Everyone we have met seems nice and even the teenagers were polite. We also didn't see a single person that looked like a gang banger or thug. Not to say the place is lily-white, just that we saw people and not scum. There is apparently a problem with meth in the area, as there WILL be in every poorer location, but my closest neighbor (ADOT cop) said there is rarely any issues out where we live. My house has been sitting basically unoccupied for a decade and has never been broken into.

That neighbor did come out with a gun to ask me who I was and what I was doing out there when we stopped by the property the night before the realtor took us out kind of guy. We hit it off as we talked for an hour in the dark...and it is DARK!!! out there. He is former Phoenix PD that moved his family to St John's to get out of the rat race and now works commercial traffic enforcement on I40. We later met his parents (nice people) who live 4 miles closer to town on the same county road.

While the CC&Rs state "no shooting" on property, the neighbor says he shoots on his all the time with no problems. Apparently the Sheriff won't enforce the HOA shooting prohibition and the HOA has no way to do so either. HOA is really only for road maintenance. There is also BLM land a mile up the road that I can shoot on and a range in St Johns for about $60 a year membership.

We choose St John's (after over 2yrs of searching) because it is so out of the way. Though it's almost city living compared to some of the ones we were considering. Places where it was a 70 mile trip (each way) to simply buy a gallon of milk for instance. The longer we have been around people, the less we want to be. It is amazing how hard it is to actually get away from people now but not needing to worry about employment allowed us to really widen the possible locations.

We had looked for somewhere with the least chance of having or being affected by disasters. No earthquakes, floods, mudslides, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, Black Lives Matter, etc. While also avoiding swarms of flying insects and high humidity. We didn't want to be in even a small city nor on the access/egress routes to one (didn't want to wake up one day to the zombie hordes).

Blue States were immediately off the list as well for obvious reasons. Though I am given pause by AZ's mere 4 point spread between Trump/Hillary and we did manage to pick one of the few blue counties in the state. Hopefully our two conservative votes can help. One benefit of the reason the county is blue (poverty) is that it is also the county with the lowest property taxes from what I am told. Mine are $500ish a year and I was informed that buying a similar property in the next county over would have tripled that.

We have been out to the property twice since closing and will be spending another 10 days there starting Sunday. With each visit we are liking it more and are looking forward to living there full time.
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