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Exiled in the Desert for 53 Years

"Move or Die!" The doctor pointed his finger straight into Tom's face for emphasis. "Move or die," he said. "I can keep you alive until you graduate, but after that you have to move to the desert if you want to continue to stay alive. The side effects from your allergies are overwhelming your immune system. You cannot go on forever being kept alive by intravenous treatments twice a week. You need to live in a place that is hot and dry in order to minimize your symptoms. You must move to the desert. In the desert, the allergens are fewer and the hot dry climate will help keep your lungs clear of the constant drainage caused by your allergens. If you move to the desert," the doctor continued, " you will still wind up your life as an invalid and never live to see 40. But that is better than dying in your mid twenties." This was 1957. Tom was 21 years old and finishing his senior year at Notre Dame University.

The doctor's point was well taken. Soon after graduation, Tom married and moved away from South Bend, Indiana and all the people he loved so dearly. Through a series of moves, Tom wound up in the Coachella Valley in 1963 and has lived here ever since. Through persistent, careful study, careful living habits, and new medical understandings of allergies and the immune system, Tom is still alive and functioning very well today at the age of 79. "I am healthier now than I have ever been in my whole life," Tom says.

Tom recently celebrated 53 years of being exiled in the Coachella Valley. He remembers when the Coachella Valley really looked like a desert with rolling sand dunes covering houses from time to time. In those days the railroad had to maintain a permanent full-time crew just for the purpose of keeping the constantly rolling sand dunes from covering the railroad tracks. The only air-conditioning was swamp coolers. In addition to frequent face-stinging sandstorms, the valley was also plagued with swarms of gnats and swarming crickets. Gradually the valley has changed to a beautiful, comfortable, vacation land covered with golf courses and beautiful homes. Tom says, "What a great place to be exiled in for 53 years!"

Since Tom first became a licensed real estate agent in 1976 Tom has seen every kind of real estate market there is. "What most people do not understand about real estate," he says," is this: If you are selling your house and buying a replacement, then the real estate market is always a good market for you." Tom explains, "If you are in a high priced market, you will receive a high price for the house you sell but you must also pay a high price for the house you are buying." "On the other hand," he continues, " if you are buying and selling during a low priced market, you will receive a low price for the house you are selling but you will also pay a low price for the house you are buying. So if you are selling your house and buying a replacement, the market is always good for you."

When asked about buying real estate for investment purposes, Tom says,"Today we are in a landlord's and investor's market. Prices are low and interest rates are low. There are many foreclosure purchase opportunities. This is the time for investors to start buying. We went through a similar market in the early 1980's. My wife and I recognized the opportunity then and started buying foreclosures. Little by little we collected a total of 28 rental houses at that time. "

"Starting about 2003 house prices were skyrocketing, speculators jumped on the bandwagon and bought for investment purposes. Now some are still paying for following the crowd. During that same period, my wife and I saw the opportunity to sell in a seller's market. We sold our rental houses while speculators were buying. Now we are comfortably retired."

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Last modified: August 28, 2026