OK, the link to the spreadsheet gives a summary of seven properties in Alta Sierra all priced under $70,000. The video is about 22 minutes long, a few minutes walking around each property.
So, I walked these seven properties today in Alta Sierra near or around the golf course neighborhoods. They ranged in price from $19,000 to $69,000. Several of the lots have been for sale for 5 years or more. The simple reason these lots don’t already have homes on them when every lot around them already has a home is because these lots present very difficult challenges to the home builder who takes them on. Every easy to build lot within a mile of the golf course long ago had a home built on it. The last home built on any street in this portion of the subdivision was in the 1990’s. No easy build lots left in this part of Alta Sierra.
So, what about pricing? Well, these lots hardly ever sell. In the last two years, maybe one of these type of lots has sold. We simply do not have comparable sales. Every lot is worth whatever seller is willing to accept and a buyer is willing to pay. List price is nothing more than the seller’s want, or need, or just plain fantasy.
One more point, the cost of the land is almost irrelevant compared to the development cost. A water meter and water hook up fees run on the order of $25,000. Some property owners have already paid some or all of those fees, but never buy a lot in Alta Sierra without making a call to the Nevada Irrigation District to verify that a water meter is available, and to confirm the cost. And remember, once you pay all those fees and get the meter installed, you still have to pipe the water to your home. That expense is in addition to all the other costs.
Septic is another huge cost for development. No septic system costs less than $15,000 even on any easy build lot, but add in the slope, and costs immediately rise to minimum of $25,000, and some septic systems cost $35,000 to $40,000. With the exception of the lot on Lawrence, not a single one of the properties I looked at today had any soils works done, and the lot on Lawrence had a perc test in 2008 that showed it had very poor soil and predicted a very expensive system would be needed. That in addition to fact it was steep lot to begin with. Just to find out what sort of septic system you need costs $2000 and requires an engineer. Since the sellers purchased these lots without doing soil testing, and have owned them, sometimes for decades without ever so much as sticking a spade in the ground, it is hard to imagine they will pony up for a soils test included in the price. Some of these properties have been listed for sale for over five years! How motivated to do you imagine these sellers are?
OK, so what is my recommendation? Well, actually, I did have preference: … drum roll…. And the winner is: 10847 Henson Way… .39 acres… $48,000… downslope, but not so steep that you wouldn’t be able to have some choice about where to place the home.