The last thing I expected to have happen, after moving here, was to find a place that I really liked in less than 2 weeks. I was browsing the real estate listings. I do that fairly often when I have 30 minutes to kill. I noticed an 800 sq foot cabin for sale on 18 acres. We were going to wait until spring to purchase but this place came along and I started to dream of the possibilities of all the building projects and things I would do to make it my own.
I have some solid requirements for the property we purchase. It must have access to internet, because I am a telecommuter. I would like it to have power or access to power and to be in the general area that we are living in now. It must be vacant land, or a small building and hace room to build a new house on. Not be a total dump, be mostly wooded, and that it should have the ability to add a well for water.
In the process of checking this place out I called and talked to a well drilling guy and he looked up existing wells in the area and found 2 in the nearby area. One at 380 feet the other at 90. Well casing was quoted at $48 a foot, so for you non-math people that is a difference in cost of about $20,000. It is a huge cost difference. In a worst case scenario, the well would end up costing about %50 of theTOTALcost of the property. I was very disappointed. Everything else was just about perfect. Location, topography, access to internet, power, and a building that is not just habitable but actually quite nice.
It would be an exaggeration to say I was crushed but I did a lot of legwork on this property, calling banks, telecom company, zoning inspector, well guy and it sucked to think that work was for naught. I realize that I would rather do the work and educate myself and find out before buying it that something was askew, than be stuck with a property that has a flaw.
So here it is. After talking with my wife and the property owners where we are currently living. I realized I don’t really need a well immediately. Millions of people live without running water, many of them in the United States. I mean, we were not going to plumb this cabin anyways, so what is the big deal if we don’t have a well. This represents a massive shift in what I deem to be essential for living. The place we are renting now, does not have running water inside but we have a well. We rarely use the well, we use a composting toilet, wash and bathe with rainwater and fill up 5 gallon jugs at one of the artesian wells in town. It is a bit more work but it is not insane by any means.
Why this place works. It has power on the property already. It has an existing structure making the loan a mortgage and not a loan for land. I have found out that this totally changes the process. Down payments are less, and more banks are willing to talk to you. You see land is just land, banks hate selling foreclosed land more than they hate selling foreclosed properties. There is just too much of it on the market. It is .2 miles from a major highway making it easy for the wife to drive to work, even with a massive snowfall. The existing building with power allows us to live on site and plan the big house. The existing building is well constructed on a concrete slab allowing us to use it as a guest lodging or workshop when we complete the big house. The property is very nicely wooded, and just down the road is about 5,000 acres of county land that borders a national forest. The property has plenty of southern exposure making a natural building very possible as well as renewable energy should we decide to go that route.
This process has been very educational, and self reflective. It is difficult to evaluate what we really want and need. I think I will learn a lot more about myself as I continue to explore myself, the area, and build my little homestead. Hang on folks, this is going to be a very interesting ride. I can’t wait to start to get going on this project, or a different one if that is how it works out.