Off the Grid, On the Market, Sold!

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Off Grid

Off the grid?

What grid?

The little casita in the middle of the desert is about as isolated as you can get in this century.

Solar panels power the pump that draws water from 1,000 feet below the sand. Solar panels heat that water. The toilet composts. The stove uses propane. Heat stays out and cool in – or vice versa – thanks to the double-insulated roof and strategic cross-ventilation.

For Susan Taylor, this 420-square-foot, one-bedroom house has been a respite from her two jobs (administrator and art gallery manager) in the Arizona border town of Bisbee, southeast of Tucson. When it was time to sell, to enable her to travel to see family and to sail, she was sure that its isolation and independence would be just the ticket for someone as green-minded as she.

She listed the tiny getaway with ForSaleByOwner.com. It took time – a couple years – and patience – many interested buyers overestimated their appetite for severing their connections to the outside world – internet included.

“There’s a certain amount of adventure,” says Taylor.

So that’s how she marketed it, and that’s why it sold.

The new owners, scheduled to move in by the end of 2010, ‘are even more green than I am,” says Taylor. They were taken by the space – enough to expand the house – and potential for a farm of some sort. They found the casita through ForSaleByOwner.com.

They love the place, but Taylor had to offer owner financing to seal the deal. Green features are little understood by lenders and appraisers. That, combined with the remote location and unique size and configuration, put the casita squarely outside the lending cookie-cutter.

Small price to pay, says Taylor. She is working out the contract, which might be a traditional lender financing, patterned after a bank loan, or might take the form of lease-to-own. Either way, the casita will soon have new owners. “We waited, and the universe brought them to us,” says Taylor.

More tips for marketing a house with unique green features.

Energy-efficiency comes with language of its own. Here’s how to help buyers get grip on the lingo.