John and I travel. Technically, we’re Digital Nomads. We both work remotely online and so we can travel whenever and wherever we like. When our daughter was growing up, we wanted for her to have strong roots and a home base, but we wanted that home base to be unique and interesting. So we bought to old school building. We found out that the building was for sale from a friend who owned a restaurant that had operated out of the first floor of the building for several years before. The building was in tax foreclosure. So we paid the cost of getting it out of tax foreclosure and then set about cleaning it out. The previous owners were hoarders so John and I removed a lot of trash from the property. First we carried each piece of junk out of the building and set it in the front, south yard. Then, later, we had to load it all onto a truck. When we weighed it at the landfill, the total weight of all this trash was 2 tons.
We loved the building. It was perfect for us, but it took time to build the walls and design the space so that it would be energy efficient in the winter months. We wanted to have low bills and be able to shut things down and shut areas off during the winter or the summer to keep our costs down. This was important to us. We put in 4 wood stoves (+ one that is not currently hooked up) so that we could light only the ones that we needed on cold or chilly nights. We put in walls and doors that could be opened or closed depending on the temperature. When we left on long trips, we shut everything down.
John and I tried working with several different Ogallala realtors when we first put the school on the market, but the Ogallala real estate scene is pretty weird. Or maybe I should say, it’s way too NORMAL. Realtors in Ogallala aren’t willing to work with us because the school is a big building and that means that it takes longer than 5 minutes to show it to potential buyers. People who are considering buying the school need a little time to consider the possibilities when they look at it. The realtors we worked with in Ogallala simply weren’t interested in showing a unique property like ours because it was more work than what they were used to. And I suppose that most people who look at real estate in Ogallala want to buy something “normal”. That makes sense. But I know there are people out there who want something unique because John and I wanted something unique. We’re not alone!
While there’s definitely an underculture of conformity in the Ogallala area, what John and I found was that being unique and standing out was what “sold”. All of the businesses that we ran out of the old building in Brule did well even though we often traveled for 4 to 6 months of the year, stopping those businesses during the times when we were gone. Our customers would wait for our return. The area around the school building is a pleasant environment and the interior offers many possibilities in terms of business. People liked coming to the school despite the fact that nearly all of them commuted from Julesburg, Lemoyne, Arthur, Ogallala, Grant, or even Imperial. Very few of our customers came from Brule. The school is a fun destination though.
But one of the biggest reasons why we decided to sell the school is because we decided to center the majority of our lives in Mexico. Our daughter is officially leaving home in the fall and she wants to travel, so we felt like it would be better if we all lived in a university town where she could master a foreign language. The city in Mexico where we live now is located close to a major airport and we can take a bus to get there. We save on our travel costs by living here at this time. And we’re able to stay close to our daughter and even travel with her still even though she’ll be living on her own soon.
It was a difficult decision to sell this old building because we loved it. But we’re entering a new stage in our lives and it was time to let go and move forward. Though Ogallala realtors rarely work with people who are looking for something unique, we know that people who want a one-of-a-kind property that they could use to live and/or to work in are out there. So we decided to make sure everyone knows that this property is for sale! It’s ready for a new owner to give it a new life!