So, a while back I wrote about my dream to have a farm. My first step toward that goal was to get out of debt, and after a lot of hard work, that step is complete (cue tears of joy!). I’ve also been skimping and saving like mad, and so far I have about $7000 in the bank for a downpayment. A few weeks ago I went to the farm credit bureau and got preapproved for a modest loan.
Soooo the time has finally come to start looking for a property! YEEEEAAAH! 😀
One day I’ll write out the process for evaluating listings to find something suitable, but today I want to post about a little lot that I put some real thought into buying.
This particular piece of land was listed on the real estate section of Craigslist. Craigslist isn’t the greatest place to look for property, but occasionally something worthwhile pops up there, so I’ve been glancing over it once a day. The ad for this parcel said it was a deep, private lot of 2 acres, with a well, a stream along one side, a storage shed, and an old concrete foundation that once held a singlewide mobile home. The owner mentioned that the septic system might not work anymore, but otherwise the lot sounded good; the location was nice, it was zoned Agricultural, and the price was $18,000 negotiable. Definitely worth a look!
It was an easy and relatively quick drive to the property, on a main highway about 20 minutes out of town. It shares a gravel driveway with another home, which is up on a hill to the east behind some trees. The first thing I noticed about the lot was the stream, which ran alongside the driveway. It was a nice little stream, but it was in a deep gulley that was too wide to jump across. We had to walk all the way up to the busy main road to get to solid land and over to the lot. (Notes made: there would need to be some sort of little bridge to easily get from the driveway to the land.)
Here’s the view from the street. Obviously the lot hasn’t been used for a long time, so it’s overgrown with weeds and brush. You can see the shed, the concrete pad, and the well head (the short little white thing on the right).
Here is the stream. This was a relatively flat section; some of the streambed was carved deep into the land, so there was a 3 ft drop or so down to the water. It was too wide to step across along its entire length, and the stream cut across the land both at the top and side. (Notes made: there would need to be *multiple* bridges to reach all areas of the property.)
The shed and concrete pad up close. The shed itself was in decent shape, but the roof looked like it needed some work. The concrete pad had definitely seen better days; it was warped and cracked, with cinderblocks piled up beside it. (Notes made: foundation probably won’t pass code for putting a new structure on it. Would have to be removed or just leave it there unused and in the way.)
A view from the far end of the lot, looking toward the street. There was some junk back here, including some tires and a really old shed that had completely collapsed and was just a big pile of rusting metal and rotting wood. (Notes made: this is going to take some truck hauling to clean up the debris.)
One random cool feature, a REALLY old well pump. I pumped it a few times and got some nasty brown water out of it. Obviously unusable, but it was cool!
As we were walking around the lot, the main problem of this property became apparent…it was very very damp. The entire area was marshy, with a thick layer of mud between the clumps of weeds and occasional mini-streams that had to be stepped over. I wouldn’t think much of it if it had just rained, but it had been 3 warm, sunny days since the last rain. Meaning that this land had terrible drainage, and was probably never 100% dry. No wonder the septic system didn’t work…
No septic system means that it would be difficult to build a house, or even bring in a new mobile home, because there’s no way to handle the waste water. There *are* actually several options available, but the government won’t allow most of them. No normal option for sewage is a huge negative. The marshy nature of the land would also cause problems with livestock, since a perpetually damp and muddy environment can cause hoof rot or other conditions, as well as providing a moist breeding ground for parasites.
So, in summary:
Good location near town
Natural water supply
Existing storage shed
Very damp and marshy and muddy
No possibility of a septic system, BIG PROBLEM
Shabby concrete pad probably unusable
On a high traffic road, so lots of “cars going by” noise
VERDICT: Nope. 😦
I like some things about this property, like the location, the shed, and the price. But the soggy land would cause way too many problems. So for now I’m going to keep looking…