Source: Valley Roadrunner

Land, guns and money

by Mark Larson

December 18, 2013

Another agent and I were recently showing prospective buyers a large lot off Old Castle Road. The buyers were city dwellers and meditation enthusiasts, looking to come to the country and find their peaceful Shangri-La. The showing was going real well, and the buyers said they planned to make an offer.

Then boom! boom! boom!, the bullets started flying. The shooting sounded like a small-time war was kicking off when the neighbor, perched at his hilltop house above us, opened fire with a fusillade of over 80 high-powered rifle rounds shot off in under 15 minutes. None of the shots were directed at us, thankfully.

Next the neighbor let the dogs out: two big pit bulls charged down the slope to come sniff the prospective buyers. Thankfully the dogs didn’t lift a leg on our buyers. Then a quad ATV rider was rolled out of the garage and deployed to noisily buzz all over the property and ride circles around the buyer’s agent and me. This was the most weird showing I’d ever been on.

The buyer’s wife was shaken, and not particularly taken by my lighthearted suggestion to buy the land and a .357 Magnum pistol, then fire off a box of shells to light up the night and demonstrate superior firepower to win the neighborhood arms race.

Turns out the noisy neighbor was frustrated because he had made multiple offers to buy the property and they have all been rejected. This Yosemite-Sam like neighbor has not given up yet. He may continue to deploy his guns, dogs and Quads to discourage potential buyers of the adjacent parcel. All this in an effort to persuade the sellers to view his offer more favorably, or possibly to keep the land free of new noisy neighbors.

So with the boom, boom, boom of gunfire — out goes the buyers’ dreams of this land becoming a serene space where they could meditate while watching the western sunset. The Buyer’s wife was spooked by the neighbors’ Wild West show, and away they go to seek greener pastures and a quiet lot elsewhere. Thus another Valley Center land deal dies at the wrong end of a gun. As a Valley Center real estate agent, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Land, guns and money have been a volatile mix in Valley Center since the 1850s, and the beat goes on.

Indeed, demand for Valley Center land for building custom and speculation homes has increased in the last four months. Home builders are finally back in the market and placing offers on buildable lots. Still, land prices in Valley Center remain at least 25 percent less than their peak in the last market up cycle.

Market Report: Current Valley Center Land and Home Prices: