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Seriously bold

| I've decided to move. I love my house and was not expecting to live anywhere else, but when I gave the possibility some serious thought, it became a no-brainer.

And it's all Ken's fault — he came back from looking for a rental property in Desert Hot Springs exclaiming about how many nice houses were on the market there for very low prices. How low? Less than $150,000. Hmmmm.

So, I set about studying the real estate market in Desert Hot Springs. Now, Desert Hot Springs is known for its natural spas and mineral waters that rise to the surface, and there are many resorts where people come to "take the waters." It's disparaged by some as Desolate Hot Springs, known for gangs, drugs, and crime. Given that, I would be willing to give up the cachet of Palm Springs only for the right house in the right area.

I quickly found well over 100 properties listed for less than $150,000 and did a drive-by inspection of about 50 of the more-promising ones. From those I picked out about a dozen to investigate further, and today I went with a friend who is a real estate broker to do walk-throughs of the A-list. That quickly narrowed things down even more: many on my list turned out to already have offers or be in escrow. And some that looked like possibilities from the outside turned out to be absolute nightmares inside.

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The short list: Two promising candidates

The two final prospects turned out to be on the same street in the Mountain View development, a gated community at the western edge of Desert Hot Springs, nestled high up against the mountains. Both are fine houses in an area I'd be happy to live in.

House #1 is on a corner lot with low-maintenance desert landscaping along the two streets. The location is perfect: spectacular views of mountains and the valley, with only the rooftops of neighboring houses visible above the fence. Two bedrooms, two baths, huge unlandscaped back yard. At 1200 sq ft, it's smaller (by 500 sq ft) than my current place, and felt much smaller. $126,000.

House #2 is just down the street, also with desert landscaping streetside. Three bedrooms, two baths. Gorgeous tile throughout, gas fireplace in the great room, and the back yard, though much smaller than the yard behind house #1, is finished with desert landscaping, a patio area, and astroturf grass. Being a bit lower down the hill, somewhat more of the roofs of neighboring houses show above the fences. $150,000.

The ideal solution would have been to have house #2 on the lot for house #1, but that's never going to happen. So, house #2 will be my new home. It has had only one owner, and the owner lived there only 10 months. It's available for what amounts to a song as a result of a short sale.

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Last updated on Jun 7, 2016

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