Sunday, November 23, 2008

Do You Golf?

I know some of you, especially from the East Coast, will probably find the rocky landscape pictures from yesterday somewhat depressing. These lots may be more to your style. This is a different development surrounding a golf course and filled with houses that are more Tuscan influenced. Most of the lots face the golf course and some have a strip view.

This is a typical half acre lot with a view of the strip to the north. About three quarters of it is buildable, with a portion of steep slope down to the golf course below. The buildable land is perfectly flat fill and priced very reasonably. There is no earth moving or engineering to worry about. I'm sure many people would find this heavenly. But to us it just seems boring. We are not golfers. Privacy and space are more important to us than greenery. The option of building a very different, very unique house is more appealing to us than another McMansion. I tried very hard to like this community, but in the end we are going back to the first rocky community (which does have a golf course, but not next to any of the properties that we are interested in). Tomorrow morning we will walk some of the properties again that we saw in the late afternoon. We will also go back after dark to see what views the properties have of the sparkling strip and city lights.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Five years ago we moved to Clark County, Nevada, from the San Francisco Bay Area. Our plan was to buy a temporary house and to start building our Dream House. But as life often does, it got in the way and only now are we ready to build The House. At least in the last thirty years we have bought, designed, remodeled, and sold many houses and condominiums. We are experienced and know what to expect, but we also know that the unexpected is just around the corner. Although we have some ideas about the type of house we want (private, contemporary), we know that the land will dictate the design. So starting last Thursday we started looking for land. Land in Clark County comes in two types; slopes and flat. All of them are going to be pretty rocky. The first lot we looked at has a 60 - 70 degree slope. It also has a phenomenal view of the Las Vegas Strip. At night the lights would be mesmerizing. But the building restrictions on such a slope and ridgeline are also pretty daunting. We looked at a lot of sloping land, even one that starts with a twenty foot rock wall that my husband likened to the Mines of Moria.

Other land is flat. No not originally flat, but filled flat. This is a two acre parcel surrounded by hills. It is surrounded by a curved road and would make a spectacularly beautiful private compound. But it does not have a strip view, which is why it is priced much less than the surrounding properties. When we first moved here we thought that the next house would have a spectacular strip view, but the house we are in now has no view at all. Instead it is focused on the backyard which has a spectacular pool. Do we really need a view? Can we build on a slope and go back to the House of Stairs we once lived in in California? It certainly is nice to have everything on one level. While we debated these questions, we looked at another community which features a golf course and not just rocks.