Desert Investing: Parcels with washes going through them

I have an opportunity to purchase a 2.3 acre parcel in Mohave County near Kingman. I would guess almost half of the property has a wash going through it, which looks like a major deal breaker to me but I'm fairly inexperienced yet. Anyone have much luck in dealing with washes? Is it best to just walk away?

@AllenB in my neck of the woods, there will usually be a flood zone around seasonal streams. Iā€™m not entirely sure how these wash outs work in the desert though. Have you checked out and flood maps yet?


@retipsterseth I have not checked on flood zones. Would the county normally have that information? By the way, thank you for always giving your input on posts in this forum! It is a HUGE resource for my business!

@AllenB you bet! If you're a datatree subscriber, you can usually see flood map overlays on most areas.

For a free, less user-friendly option, you can look up your area on the FEMA website:

As Seth said, Fema shows floodplane. On a 2.3 acre property a wash would be a deal breaker. On a 10 acre or larger it might not be a big deal.

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I don't have experience with washes in the desert, but sometimes there can be ways to engineer the site so these things widen up the buildable area of the lot (so it's not completely useless). I think this would only make sense for a highly valuable property though, I'm not sure if your property fits that profile. This probably wouldn't make sense for a desert property that isn't in high demand.

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@allenb I sold one with a wash (Dolan Springs) which I bought cheap, due to the wash. It was listed on Zillow and actually got me several leads. Two of those leads were specifically looking for properties with washes.