Thursday, August 27, 2009

Project Relocation

We're moving.

Last Fall, my husband and I decided it was time to move back to Colorado. We had been talking about it for years, but for many very good reasons we had stayed in New Mexico.

The Beginning of the Story

We started raising alpacas about 2 years ago; agisting them at nearby ranches. Agisting was great for getting started. It is a low risk way to learn more about the alpacas and gave us time to find a farm of our own.

We considered moving outside of town and had a loose agreement to buy an existing alpaca farm. Then my company layed off half it's staff. I got nervous and backed out.

The company appeared to become more stable. I was outsourced.

The outsourcer said it had more SAP work than people to do it and that I could work remotely. So we made plans to sell our house in Albuquerque and started earnestly looking for a new home in Northern Colorado.

My former company, the outsourcer's and my customer, filed Chapter 11, then Chapter 7 and layed of the remaining staff. I was furloughed, then layed off.

We sold our house and moved to Colorado.

We are staying in a rented house. I have a new great consulting job with a great young company.

I've lost track of how many houses we've seen, but we've made offers on three houses.

The First

The first was an amazing farm house at the base of the foothills, built in 1895 on 5 acres. It was a short sale and the owner did not want to sell. It is a beautiful property. The owner clearly loves it. The bank was forcing the short sale.

We made an offer. The listing agent called right away and said the bank's bottom line is a little higher. 'If you change the offer, it will be accepted.'

We changed our offer as suggested. The seller refused to acknowledge, counter or sign the offer. The selling agent did not return phone calls or emails. We never heard from the bank.

We decided to leave the offer on the table and started looking again.

This house is now listed with a new agent for the price we offered.

The Second

The second house was also an amazing farm house. This one is a little closer to town, near a lake, built in 1905 on 2.5 acres. It was completely set up with barns and fencing. A better set up for us and listed for less money.

We asked if they would be interested in an offer contingent on my having a job. They were not. I secured my great job a few days later.

Since we had now been looking at houses in earnest for 7 months and were living in a short-term rental. We made a clean offer. They countered.

They are trying to buy a short-sale and have decided if it doesn't go through, they are not selling. We told them we definitely wanted to buy a house and to call us if the short-sale was going through.

They called us a week later saying it looked like it would be done in the next day or two. We scrambled to issue a new offer. The countered the same a few days later, but rescinded it almost as soon as they submitted it. They stopped returning phone calls.

We've since learned they accepted another offer.

The Third

It's 1974 and it's awesome. 3.2 acres just outside of town. Barn, shop and pasture. Great house in great condition. We are under contract. The inspection was completed last week. We close in five weeks.

I'll write more about this house as we move through the process of purchasing it.

Lessons Learned
  • Horses Allowed does not equal Alpacas Allowed
  • Most Real Estate Agents identify every place as residential. Even if it's 40 acres way out in the country and actually zoned open.
  • It's very easy to call the county and find out what the zoning is by address.
  • Zoning that allows alpaca are Agriculture, Farming and Open.
  • Alpacas are usually considered livestock and rarely identified separately when considering zoning.
  • Each county has different zoning laws for the same zoning rating.
  • Three adjacent counties allow for 20, 50 and 4 alpacas per acre if zoned Agriculture.
  • Yes, I meant 50 and 4.
  • A single story house usually has a bunch of stairs to the front door and a basement.


  • I don't understand why selling agents don't check the easy data.
  • I don't understand how stairs and a basement qualify as single level.

Our search would have been easier if could have reliably searched on zoning and number of stories.

1 comment:

Zena Suri Alpacas said...

Ah, the joys of moving... We are building our house and barn and need to put up all of the fencing. It seemed like it would not cost all that much, but everything is extra and we are gullible. "Sure, add a garage, put a floor in the space above it, add another gable.) It will be beautiful, but I need to learn to say no.