Monday, October 19, 2009

Finding a piece of earth to build in

Back to the realty sites, this time looking for acreage. With what I wanted to do, I knew I was going to need at least an acre to have room to build and have room for some trees around the home. I knew I would need to have the option to "bring my own builder" and I was going to need to avoid home owner's associations and extensive covenants and restrictions.
There was some beautiful wooded property for sale nearby. However the property was being sold by a developer, and they were concerned about all sorts of details. The 18 pages of restrictions included a requirement to paint your satellite dish to match your house color. Well, it was unlikely that was going to work for me.
Then I found a piece of land away from people, not too far from work, and a fair amount of land for a good price. Marcus my manager was looking at satellite views of it with me, and we realized why it was at a discounted price. There was a junkyard across the road from the property. Now, if you are going to be getting water from a well, you really don't want to be near a place that has a good chance of contaminating the ground water.
I spotted a piece that was 10 acres of wooded land. From the aerial views, it looked nice, was probably about 10 minutes from work, and was inside or just outside a small city where utilities probably wouldn't have been much trouble to obtain. It was a fair amount more property than I was looking to buy, and cost around twice what I had intended to pay for my land. Marcus looked at the map, he told me, that is a nice area, however to get to the property would involve driving a hill that in the winter could be quite treacherous. Not being into extreme sports, I decided it was best to pass on that piece of property.
I continued to look, and Marcus offered his advice on a few more pieces. One day, we were looking at some that I had found and I saw a nice piece that was about 2 1/2 acres and wooded. I thought it looked nice, but looking at the map, I thought I was looking at it taking an hour to get to work. I really didn't want that long of a commute. Marcus said he drove by that area each day on his way to work, and it was a nice area and not as far from work as I thought. He said that it would also be a nice drive into work. So we took a drive out to the property to have a look. Marcus was right, the drive was only about half an hour, a bit longer then I had wanted, but manageable. It was also mostly country roads, so it was rather scenic. We got out to the property and there was a dirt driveway. It was for farm equipment to get up to the field that ended on this piece of property that was being sold, but it was drivable. We drove up in and got out. We didn't have any markers to tell us where the property lines were, but from the areal views, I knew that most of the property I was looking at was wooded. There was a farm field leading off to the east from the property and going up a gentle hill.
I decided to try to contact the agent selling the property. Well, I reached another agent at the same agency, and he informed me that that piece I was looking at was already going to be bought by someone else. He then told me that there was a 2 1/2 acre piece of property to the east of the one I had looked at. I thought that might work to, so we met out at the property. Ray the real estate agent was able to give me an idea of where the property lines were, but since they weren't marked he couldn't be precise. I told him I would think about it.
As I thought about it, I realized that the piece he showed me, might be easier to build on. It had a cleared area where the farm field had been, in the middle of the property, and occupying the highest area of the property. I would have fewer trees to remove with this property, and yet could have my home surrounded by trees. Building into higher ground, would help avoid issues with water/flooding.
The covenants and restrictions were pretty minimal and I didn't think they would present any difficulties to what I planned to do. I decided to buy the property. The purchase went smoothly, and the lady selling the property thought my plans for my home sounded neat. Now I owned 2 1/2 acres with no direct access from the road, and a lot of planning to do before I would be ready to build. Here are some pictures of what the field in the woods looked like when I bought it.

Looking from the south side of the field toward the north tree line.

Here my brother, sister, and father are trying to help me figure out where my eastern property line is. We started down by a corner stake near the road and navigated up through the woods on a compass heading to try to figure out where in the field my property would end.

Here my brother is standing roughly where my east property line is, and I have a view from my property on up the field into the neighbor's property. It is a rather gentle slope, but I think it will work fairly well to nestle a home into.

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