Land anchors … those things that keep you tied to the land when you're at sea. David didn't include them in his anchor book, but they're very real. When we decided to sell up and sail off back in 2000, we sold our home, furniture, cars … all those material things that kept us tied to land. We wanted no mortgages, no property taxes, no cars, no storage pods with furniture… and we were quite successful. Our family has been wonderful for nearly two decades, offering bed, board and storage whenever we show up … for a week or a month or sometimes longer. Now, we're thinking we'd like a place of our own to nest once in awhile. Yup, we're looking to buy a land anchor. After 16 years afloat, we need a place to store our souvenirs.
We've been out of the market for a long time and things have changed. Duh! For instance, getting pre-qualified and/or pre-approved for a mortgage loan ...you can do it on-line. In fact, they almost insist you do. You just spill your guts, including all your financial intestines, to a loan specialist via “chat”, whom you've never met and could never hope to meet. Before you know it, you're pre-qualified. We felt uncomfortable with that process and asked for a face-to-face sit-down with a loan officer at a bank we've dealt with for a couple decades. The bank, too, preferred an on-line or telephone interview, but we insisted and they acquiesced. We're definitely old-fashioned that way, I guess. It was a waste of time. We were on time and he was late and unprepared. No problems getting the approval, but we knew more than the “loan specialist” did … plus he forgot we were the customers. Grrr!
Searching for a place to live? Easy enough … whether we're interested in a house, condo, mobile home or desert property, we can shop on-line for that, too. That process, though exhausting, we've kind of liked. We don't have to deal with aggressive realtors too early in the game. We've decided that Las Vegas would be a good place to have a condo. David's mum and sisters live here. There's no state income tax. It's easy and relatively inexpensive to travel here. And, at the moment, property values are reasonable and mortgage rates are low. We figure it's better to invest in real estate than let our savings stagnate in a next-to-no-interest bank account or lose its value in the volatile market.
It turned out that once we found a place we wanted to look at, however, we couldn't get a realtor to call us back. Must be too many realty sales in Nevada to bother with us. Mary finally contacted a fellow she knew and, by default, he became our agent. The place we liked was not available, but he had more to show us. We provided our general criteria: location somewhere near Mary, bargain price, lots of square footage, no yard to maintain, but a private patio for a grill, beautiful grounds and views, facing east (morning sun, you know), several self-cleaning bathrooms, all top-of-the-line appliances included, low taxes and low or no HOA fees. We didn't think we were asking for much. He wasn't able to find one to show us until we compromised on our criteria a bit.
We've seen a couple of properties now, but we think this will be a slow process which is okay because we're used to traveling on a sailboat. Of course, once we buy a place, we'll want to buy a car and furniture and “stuff”. It's almost depressing! And if we don't find a place we like, what then? Well, life will go on and we'll look again another time or another place, maybe. The big question you ask … do we intend to swallow the sea anchor once we acquire a land anchor? NO! We figure we've still got quite a few good sailing years left in us and there's still lots to see out there. Stay tuned and we'll all see how it all turns out.