Looking to re-locate when you retire? How the pandemic has expedited that for many retirees.

Have you been thinking of relocating when you retire?  Many have a bucket list or dream of owning a homestead or ranch. Or possibly something off the beaten path once you no longer have to participate in the workforce. If this is you, you are like millions of Americans. Americans work their entire life to be able to set themselves up for retirement come age 65.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, this time frame may be shortened for many looking forward to their retirement dreams! Several companies have added the option for employees to work from home for the rest of their career. This includes Twitter, which has said its employees can keep working from home “forever.”

What does this mean for those wishing to retire?

“The pandemic was unexpected, working from home was unexpected, but nonetheless many companies realized that workers can be just as productive working from home,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. What does this mean? Well, this means we may begin to see a boost in people buying retirement homes before their retirement.

This also includes RV’ers. An estimated 1 million Americans have chosen to retire in an RV, spending at least part of the year on the road. It’s not just Baby Boomers that are gravitating to this way of life. Many millennial’s are also embracing the minimalist idea of living life on the road. For a small investment (the cost of your recreational vehicle), you could be living mortgage free anywhere in the US.

Quemado Lake, NM

When choosing on where to live, retirees have cited three areas to be of the most importance: proximity to family, cost and health care. Another huge factor retirees look at is the weather. There has been a general migration to warmer climates like Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico for their more temped weather conditions.

People are taking advantage of the freedom to base their decision of where to live not solely on proximity to work. This opens the door to numerous possibilities. Do you buy a small plot of land? With land prices at an all time low, folks are able to leave the big cities and secure themselves a nice slice of rural heaven! Couple that with the low cost to build modular or post up in an RV and the options are endless. Visit www.swproperties.com to see how to become a landowner and plan for your future retirement!

6 Reasons to Buy Land

There are several reasons why investing in land is a great investment, but in this article we will just focus on 6. When thinking of your traditional investment opportunities, many do not even consider the option of purchasing land. Understandably so – people aren’t always willing to think outside the box when it comes to their money. Here are 6 reasons that may make you consider being a land owner:

1. Land is a Finite Resource

Land is scarce; meaning, we aren’t making any more of it. In fact, due to development, we are running out of it. Couple that with a growing population and eventually this finite resource will be used up. Buildings can be demolished and replaced, land cannot.

2. No Management Necessary

Aside from paying property taxes and possibly Association dues, there are no management costs for carrying land. There are no upkeep costs, no property managers to worry about or pay. Land is the well behaved “Golden Child” of investing. In its natural state it will always be worth something.

3. No Depreciation

Land cannot depreciate because it cannot be destroyed or moved. Regardless of what the global economic situation is, you will always have something tangible that can be sold. Land is less costly to buy than developed real estate, simply because there’s nothing there (aside from the raw land obviously.) There are no improvements or additions to it that make it more or less valuable.

4. Versatility Options

Whether you want a piece of property for recreation, something to build on, farm or graze animals – land gives you a wide range of options. If none of these options appeal to you, you can always rent it out. Land gives you the opportunity to be creative and mold property how you want.

5. Land is Great to Hold Long-Term

Land is a smart long-term hold, allowing you to win the benefits of rising values. This is especially true if you buy in an area that’s due to expand and grow. However, it’s for the patient, smart investor, someone who is willing to hold for the long-term or pass it on as a legacy. You can hold it for a lifetime and leave it as part of an inheritance. There is a slew of possibilities while you hold the land that can be income producing as well whether it be farming, sign space rental, cell phone tower leases, etc.

6. Land is Easy to Buy

Land buying is typically quite simple. Like many things these days, the entire process can usually be done online. You can purchase when and wherever in the US you want! When purchasing land, you don’t need to rely on an expensive bank loan or mortgage. You might not need to take out any loan – you can always pay cash! A lot of private sellers, like our company, Southwest Properties, Inc., offer easy financing terms that make it easy to buy land on any budget. Plus, we do not require credit checks!

To recap, vacant land is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood real estate investments in the world. Land is a tangible, finite resource that is easy to purchase. Land requires no maintenance and is easy to purchase, even more so to own over a long period of time. The simplicity and stability that comes with owning the right piece of land can give you serious peace of mind for your investment. Arguably, land investing could be the most powerful strategy you use to build up your portfolio!

Covid Crisis Creates Work Space with a View

Since its explosion in to our country at the beginning of 2020, the Covid-19 crisis has forced many businesses to re-think how they do business. From the large commercial buildings housing hundreds of employees, to the small mom and pop shops. Companies have had to re-evaluate how their employees interact. Not only with each other, but with their customers. Businesses are now realizing that they can afford to do without the overhead costs of brick and mortar office spaces.

The ability to work remotely has some workers reconsidering where they’ve chosen to live. The Pew Research Center has said more than one-fifth of U.S. adults have either changed their residence, or know someone who has, due to the Covid pandemic. For instance, college students have left campus to return home to avoid overcrowded dormitories. Laid off workers whom are now unable to afford their current housing have been forced to move. And many are leaving communities they feel are unsafe.

Relocation becomes a real possibility for many

This trend to move away from urban areas and into more rural areas does not appear to be a fleeting one. If you’re lucky enough to work from home, the new question arises of where will home be? The appeal of more time with family and less time commuting seems to be quite appealing for millions of Americans.

With a work window view like these, who could blame them?!

Millions have been working from home since lock-downs began in the spring. As a result, some companies are now looking to do this permanently. HR professionals believe remote work will continue to grow even as the pandemic subsides. Home buyers are now seeking out larger homes and properties as the demand to be socially distanced expands. Importantly, as remote work and learning continue, the need for more space at home seems to be a real one for many families.

Will the remote-work model be the new normal? Will the ability to work remotely encourage people to sprawl even farther into exurban locations, far from the city? We think so, but only the future will tell.

If you are looking to relocate, consider buying land in New Mexico! Beautiful vistas and wide open spaces are what you will find.

IDA Designates First U.S. International Dark Sky Sanctuary In New Mexico

The Milky Way sets over the Cosmic Campground, New Mexico, with the lights of Morenci, Arizona, on the horizon in the distance. Photo by David Thornburg.
The Milky Way sets over the Cosmic Campground, New Mexico, with the lights of Morenci, Arizona, on the horizon in the distance. Photo by David Thornburg.

Just one of the many reasons why we love this corner or New Mexico! 

IDA is pleased to announce the designation of the Cosmic Campground as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. It is the first such designation in the U.S., and the first IDA International Dark Sky Place designation of a U.S. Forest Service location.

“We are very excited to announce the inaugural designation of an IDA Dark Sky Place on Forest Service land, and hope to strengthen our ties with this important public land management agency,” said IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend.

International Dark Sky Sanctuaries are public or private lands possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights. Their dark nighttime conditions are specifically protected for their scientific, natural, educational or cultural value, and are often located in some of the most remote and undeveloped parts of the world. Sanctuary designations are made by IDA to increase awareness of these fragile sites and promote their long-term conservation.

The new International Dark Sky Sanctuary is a 3.5 acre (1.42 hectare) site in the Gila National Forest of western New Mexico, U.S. Located between the Gila Wilderness and the Blue Range Primitive Area, the Cosmic Campground is situated in an exceptionally dark part of the lower 48 U.S. states. It features a basic infrastructure to support campers and offers a 360-degree, unobstructed view night sky.

The nearest significant source of electric light to the site is more than 40 miles (65 km) away and across the border of neighboring Arizona. Coupled with ready accessibility by road and typically clear, dry weather conditions at moderate altitude, the Campground could become a new mecca for amateur astronomers and casual stargazers seeking a one-of-a-kind experience under the stars.

“The Cosmic Campground, a peaceful, natural night sky place is ideal as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico, the United States, and the Earth,” explained Ann Grauer of Friends of the Cosmic Campground. “We are honored to help preserve and protect this small, dark place for present and future generations to connect with their inherent fascination and attraction to our night sky.”

There is no permanent, artificial lighting installed at the Cosmic Campground, and the Forest Service’s plans do not call for any such lighting in the future. Rather, the Campground is to be maintained in a state that allows visitors to experience nighttime conditions close to those before the introduction of electric lighting in the late nineteenth century. At the same time, visitors can access modern conveniences, such as wi-fi network connectivity via a cell tower located 15 miles to the south of the Cosmic Campground.

Officials see the potential for the Cosmic Campground’s new IDA status to yield a positive economic benefit for western New Mexico. Tourists who come for the extremely remote character of the nearby Gila Wilderness may well find that the Campground extends the sense of the area’s primitive quality past sunset.

Preservation and protection of this International Dark Sky Sanctuary will provide a place to gaze in wonder at the vast expanse of a natural night sky. People from around the world willdiscover how truly accessible its natural night sky is to visitors from everywhere. Children will discover their night vision allows them to “see” in the dark. Astronomers will come to experience and, possibly, photograph the incredible night sky. Families will visit the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary and explore the trails, rivers, and mountains of the Gila National Forest as well. The area economy will benefit from the “take only photos/leave only footprints” of these visitors. Visitors will share memories and bring others to see for themselves. 

“The Cosmic Campground in Catron County brings visitors from around the United States and the world to enjoy New Mexico’s unmatched wild places,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. “Outdoor recreation is a huge draw for the state and contributes to our economy as a whole. I was glad to support the Cosmic Campground’s effort in becoming an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, and I am pleased with their success. This designation will elevate the status of western New Mexico as a true destination for star gazers and dark sky enthusiasts all while boosting the economies of local communities.”

10 Ultimate New Mexico Hikes

New Mexico Magazine’s Ashley Biggers has put together a stellar list of hikes in the Land of Enchantment for every level of hiker that all have one thing in common: they’ll all have you coming back for more.

The sign of Rio Grande Gorge Recreation Area under the blue sky in New Mexico, USA
The sign of Rio Grande Gorge Recreation Area under the blue sky in New Mexico, USA

“Hiking is New Mexico’s favorite pastime. And no wonder: The call of the trail is easy to answer in a state that ranks sixth in the country for public lands, and where uncrowded tracks lie within minutes of even the largest cities. The terrain varies, climbing from high desert to alpine, sometimes in one hike. In the descriptions that follow, “easy” trails are generally in good condition, with little elevation gain. “Moderate” trails require a bit more fitness for longer distances and more elevation gain, and “strenuous” ones may require good conditioning and cover significant mileage and elevation changes. Consult the information resources provided for detailed directions and updates on trail, weather, and other variable conditions. (Read more…)”

New Mexico Parks and Monuments

Kiva in Chaco Canyon National Historic Park in New Mexico
Kiva in Chaco Culture National Historic Park in New Mexico

Every region in New Mexico has its special wild spots, where you can hike, gaze at the stars, learn about dinosaurs and ancient Native culture, play in a lake and connect with the unmatched wonder of the natural world. Starting at the Northwest and traveling clockwise across the state, here are some favorites among the 35 state parks and 14 national monuments.

NORTHWEST

The Bluewater Lake State Park, located 25 miles west of Grants, is set in a pinon-juniper landscape with views towards the Zuni Mountains. The park offers camping, hiking, birding, horseback riding and some of the best tiger muskie fishing in the state. Those who want quiet will camp on the canyon side, and those wanting to socialize will be lakeside.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park was home to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., and the ruins of the highly complex, massive cities they built are one of the wonders of the American Southwest. Guided tours, hiking and biking trails, evening campfire talks and night sky programs make this a must-do experience.

Aztec Ruins National Monument is home to spectacular architectural remains of ancestral Pueblo people, including a 400-room Great House and the only reconstructed Great Kiva in the world.

El Malpais National Monument is an eerie and beautiful landscape of black basalt formations, considered one of the best continuous geologic records of volcanic activity on the planet, and makes for memorable hiking and photography.

El Morro National Monument, a sandstone bluff where ancestral Puebloans, Spanish and American travelers carved their signatures, dates, messages and designs over thousands of years, includes hiking trails, a visitor center and small Puebloan ruin.

NORTH CENTRAL

Heron is a “quiet lake” where boats operate at no-wake speed and is ideal for sailing and windsurfing. El Vado offers boating, water skiing, lots of coves for fishing and lakeside playground. Both lakes have a variety of campsites, from primitive to fully developed.

Rio Chama Trail, a hiking and fishing trail along the river, connects the two lakes by suspension bridge. Bandelier National Monument preserves the remains of buildings constructed by ancestral Puebloans who first settled here more than 11,000 years ago. The easy trails allow walkers to explore dwellings and petroglyphs carved into the sandstone cliffs, masonry pueblos below the cliffs and miles of wilderness. An extensive visitor center and picnic area.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument near Taos is more than 240,000 acres of wilderness cut through by the Rio Grande Gorge, with some of the best whitewater boating in the state. The area also has campgrounds, excellent fishing and wildlife viewing, trails and visitor centers.

NORTHEAST

Enjoy boating, picnicking, camping, fishing and hiking in the rolling grasslands about 12 miles northwest of Clayton at the Clayton Lake State Park, where you can explore one of the most extensive dinosaur trackways in North America and get a close-up look at the stars at the Lake Observatory. The park has an RV site, tent camping, boat ramp and picnic sites. It is stocked with trout, catfish and bass, and hosts an annual Clayton Lake Trout Derby each June.

Fort Union National Monument played a significant role in the Civil War and today interpretive talks, guided tours and living history programs make a visit here entertaining and educational. Capulin Volcano National Monument offers hiking trails around the rim and into the mouth of this extinct cinder cone volcano.

Pecos National Historical Park, just outside of Santa Fe, has a complete visitor center, picnic table and a self-guided trail to explore the ruins of Pecos Pueblo and its mission church.

SOUTHEAST

The Bottomless Lakes State Park is located 14 miles southeast of Roswell along the Pecos River, offering non-motorized boating, camping, fishing, birding and scuba diving along with a visitor center and shaded picnic shelters. This became New Mexico’s first state park in 1933. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a labyrinth of 119 caves that ranks as one of the state’s must-do experiences. Self-guided walks, guided tours, backcountry hikes, birding at Rattlesnake Springs, nature trail hikes and camping are all available.

White Sands National Monument extends throughout the Southeast and Southwest regions, with 275 square miles of glittering white dunes of gypsum sand – the largest in the world. Photo buffs are in heaven here, as are those who like to surf or sled the dunes, picnic and watch the sun and moon rise in this otherworldly landscape.

SOUTHWEST

New Mexico’s largest state park surrounds Elephant Butte Reservoir, the state’s largest reservoir and largest body of water. The Elephant Butte Dam, which celebrates its 100th birthday this coming October, was a major engineering feat in its day. The lake has three developed camps with more than 200 camping and picnic spots, concession-operated marinas, stores, sandy beaches, playgrounds, RV sites and a fine visitor center. Kayaks, jet skis, pontoons, sailboats, ski boats, cruisers, and houseboats are in play all summer, and the fishing is superb, with record-breaking black, white and striped bass, crappie and bluegill.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Surrounded by the Gila National Forest, this lies within the Gila Wilderness, the nation’s first wilderness area. Cliff dwellings here inside natural caves were first occupied sometime in the 1280s, and the remains are accessible by guided tour. There is also a small museum and visitor center.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is the newest national monument, with miles of hiking, horseback and mountain biking trails, campgrounds and picnic sites with shelters and shade trees, a visitor center and spectacular views from Picacho Peak.

Prehistoric Trackways National Monument just north of Las Cruces, contains fossilized trackways with the footprints of hundreds of amphibians and reptiles that predate the dinosaurs, as well as plants and petrified wood as old as 280 million years.

CENTRAL

Right in the middle of Albuquerque, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is a peaceful nature retreat with easy walking trails, bike paths and a nature center/visitor center that offers education programs, gardens and a gift shop. There are indoor and outdoor wildlife viewing areas, trail access to the Rio Grande, picnic spots and a window into how nature – including families of porcupines, roadrunners, turtles, ground squirrels and many types of waterfowl – can flourish in the middle of an urban environment.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, with spectacular hiking in the cone-shaped rock formations formed by volcanic eruptions 6-7 million years ago. Petroglyph National Monument, a treasure house of more than 20,000 Native American and Colonial Spanish rock carvings, miles of hiking, five volcanic cones and a visitor center – all within the Albuquerque city limits.

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument gives visitors the opportunity to explore three ancient ruins dating from the early 17th Century. Valles Caldera National Preserve, site of a “super volcano” that left a 13.7-mile wide crater in the Jemez Mountains. Hot springs, streams and herds of wild elk can be seen along the miles of trails.

To find the details on these and all New Mexico State Parks, National Monuments, National Parks and National Historical Parks, as well as complete information on outdoors adventures and lodging, dining and attractions in each area, visit Closer to Wild at www.NewMexico.org.

Navajo Artist in Latest “New Mexico True Stories” [VIDEO]

 

 “Silversmith” aims to bring attention to Santa Fe’s impressive market season

SANTA FE, N.M. – Santa Fe is known for many things, with history, art and culture often topping that list. At no time are those three interests more intricately woven than during “market season,” the busy summer months that play host to more than a dozen art markets in the City Different’s historic center. Now, New Mexico has a new way to celebrate market season, while bringing attention to the handcrafted detail that goes into each piece created and displayed during these uniquely New Mexican events.

“Silversmith” features Navajo artist Roland Brady, who creates intricately handmade art and jewelry in his northwestern New Mexico home near Shiprock. His mother taught him to work with silver, melting down old coins and silver scrap and hammering the metal into something beautiful. Now, five decades in, Brady produces intricate and soulful pieces inspired from the landscape that he calls home. View “Silversmith” here.

Artists like Brady are drawn to Santa Fe each summer to showcase their handmade pieces and works of art, which, in turn, attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world.

“As consumers our values are changing, and we have a deep desire to know more about the food we eat, the experiences we have, and the art we buy,” said Rebecca Latham, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Tourism Department. “Markets allow consumers to have a deeper connection to what they’re purchasing, and also allow visitors to take a tangible memory of New Mexico home with them. ”

Fine arts and crafts will be on display many weekends throughout the summer, with the most widely known events being the International Folk Art Market (July 8-10), Traditional Spanish Market and Contemporary Spanish Market (July 30-31), and the SWAIA (Southwestern Association for Indian Arts) Indian Market (August 20-21).

“New Mexico is consistently seen as a top destination for people who appreciate handmade art,” said Latham. “Art markets drive visitors here from all over the world, and bring a significant economic impact to the state’s economy. These beautiful works of art are serious business for New Mexico, and the department is using this video to show a deeper look behind one artist to make people think about the bigger picture of art in New Mexico.”

“Silversmith” is the tenth video in the “New Mexico True Stories” series. Others in the series include “Aunt June,” which features a 91-year old Hatch native sharing her family’s history in the chile business; “The Visionary,” the story of a Native American veteran who returned from Vietnam without sight but the ability to create beautiful works of art from memory; and the recently-released “Cured Earth,” which tells the story of New Mexico’s unique adobe architecture and our relationship with mud.

To learn more about market season and other art and shopping in New Mexico, visithttp://www.newmexico.org/truetreasures.