Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

I’m thinking about selling my land. There are a few reasons why I’d like to dump it, and a few why I don’t. One of the big reasons is that I have doubts about ever building a house out there, or living there. The conditions are so harsh, and it’s such a long way to even a small hick town, that I would quickly go nuts. I also don’t know that I have it in me to build a house. I’m pushing 40, and I remember when I was 21, I barely had it in me to do roofing. I couldn’t imagine framing a house by myself, unless I had a lot of help, and help costs money, and by the time it averages out, I might as well pay $900,000 for a condo in Santa Monica.

There is a part of me that likes the idea of having the land. It would be nice to build a vacation house there. Of course, I could have bought a waterfront timeshare in Hawaii for the same amount of money. It’s less of a pain in the ass to get to Maui, the amenities and view are just slightly better, and I don’t have to dig my own sewer by hand or worry that meth-heads are going to strip the wiring out of my walls in the 51 weeks a year I’m not there. Or if I had the payment instead of putting it to my mortgage, I could have taken one really kick-ass vacation a year to a different place each time.

One big thing that also motivates me is that prior to this year, my annual property tax averaged about $7. This year, my property tax was $440. Why? Nobody can tell me. The county re-evaluated the land, and I guess my land is now worth two and a half million dollars. In reality, I think if I found a buyer, I could probably get about twice what I paid for the land, and that would be a decent chunk of change I could apply toward a down payment on a house. And getting a house would be the best investment, because I use it every day, and despite the urban legends and common misconceptions, there is absolutely no tax advantage to owning raw land without a residence or business on it.

So who knows. But if you’re gung-ho about owning 40 acres in the Sangre de Cristo mountains and you’ve got cash burning a hole in your pocket, ignore everything bad I said above, and drop me a line.

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I bought that land. It all started on a birthday trip to Vegas, in one of the Elvis suites in the Stardust (which is now a smoking hole in the ground.) No, I didn’t win the land in a poker game; I was researching some way to blow my annual bonus, and got the ball rolling on that purchase. It was six years ago, although 2002 seems like last year. I had one of those “holy shit where has time gone” moments as I tore through all of the old journal entries. I tried not to stop and read too much, but I still think now and again, I should scrape everything into a lulu book, so I can read it not at the computer. I also think I should make a list of my favorite journal entries and put them in that right side bar.

But first, I have other work to do…