Bob Scott thinks everybody deserves a house of their own.
Philanthropy aside, he said it's better to own than to rent. He likens
a rent receipt to a piece of toilet paper too small for practical
"When you're paying rent, it all goes down the drain," he said.
Scott, 78, lives in Ruidoso but is constructing The Prairie, a sprawling lot of what will be nearly 80 homes in Tularosa.
"I just wanted to do it to prove it could be done," Scott said.
Scott is, by trade, an industrial contractor. He has done just about
everything from courthouses to part of McClaren Airport in Las Vegas,
"You name it, I've probably built it," he said.
The Prairie now has six finished homes, ready for occupancy. Phase one will have 26 homes in all.
Scott figured there are so many people in Otero County working for
minimum wage or less, he would build quality homes for them. He noted
the minimum income is a paltry $12,000 a year.
The homes come in two basic types. One is almost 1,300 square feet and
runs $128,000. The second is slightly smaller, 1,100 square feet, and
costs around $127,000.
Scott said that includes sales tax and Tularosa village hookup fees. He said realtors often leave the little extras
out, to make a price look lower than it actually is. He wants to be up front.
The houses, though prefabricated, are built on foundations and have all utilities underground, he said.
The insides are fairly dapper. Rounded corners last longer, he said.
The larger house has an island in the kitchen, and the counter tops
feature a marble-like tile. All houses come with stoves, vents,
refrigerated air and refrigerators. They have washer and dryer hookups.
Scott said government financing programs are available.
Potential owners do have to agree to certain restrictions, he said, among them no Rottweilers or pit bulls.
"I have always had an aversion to those things," he said.
Others include no cars parked on the yard, no mobile homes, and only one family per house.
"We're not going to have a dump here," he said.
This isn't the first time Scott has worked on making homes affordable
for low income families. He owns some Section 8 housing in Las Vegas
that he said got one of the highest Housing and Urban Development
ratings, a 98 or 99.
He said he was offered a plaque for his efforts. The only problem was, he had to go to Washington, D.C., to get it.
"It would have cost me $800 to go back to D.C. and get a two bit plaque," he said.
So he skipped it.
Scott used all local labor for the construction. Of the six homes
already built, all are ready for occupancy. The homes are being offered
through United Country Realty in Tularosa.