On Saturday, we went out to look at some land for sale. It was actually a pretty nice day for traipsing out in the dirt. The sun was out and while it was cool (this is January in Illinois after all), it wasn’t too bad for this time of the year.
We went out on our little adventure not having high hopes that we would find anything, but really wanted to get a feel for the area and see what was available.
We timed our trip to try to determine about how long it would take hubby to get to work and met up with the real estate agent. He told us we would be looking at three pieces of property. Each property was 5 acres and all in the same general area. With that, we were off.
Property #1 – After driving thru a small town, we get to the last street in town and pull up to a plowed corn field. There is a small grove of trees on the street side of the property and a fence line of trees on the back of the property. On the other side of the fence line is nothing but field with a couple of farms in the distance. It was also our first glance of what 5 acres actually looks like. This was also the property I had inquired about from a real estate listing. It was listed as 6.3 acres, but the seller had just sold 5 acres and since he owns another 3 acres he decided to keep 1.3 and sell an even 5. While there are some definite advantages to the property such as the availability of city water, electric, natural gas, phone and cable there is also the disadvantage of not having a more natural private country setting because it sits on the outskirts of a town. Of course availability of utilites can also be considered a disadvantage since each utility costs money, but for right now they are advantages. Granted, we’re talking about a very small town (under 1,000 population), but we have to consider the fact that being so close to any town means we would have to deal with things we wouldn’t be dealing with further out in the country. Fortunately, the presence of trees on the property would give us some of the privacy we want for our homestead and we could certainly add additional trees for more privacy, but when we left Property #1, we weren’t sold and were anxious to see Property #2.
Property #2 – Our drive to this property took us back out-of-town to the country where a newer subdivision has been built. Each piece of property in the subdivision is a 5 acre plot, but because it’s developed land there aren’t a lot of trees and living there would give us a nice view of the interstate out our front window. That’s not too appealing to me.
During our visit to this property one of the neighbors walked over to introduce himself. You can learn a lot talking to the neighbors. He informed us of two important pieces of information
1. The property we were looking at wasn’t for sale. Yes, the agent showing us the property was showing us the wrong property. He isn’t the listing agent on the property and was not able to connect with the listing agent, but it was pretty funny that we’re walking around someone else’s property. The property we should have been looking at was right next door – a rolling piece of open field.
2. Both the property we were walking on and the actual property for sale have flooding problems. Now, when we say flooding problems, how much flooding are we talking about? It was pretty easy to look at the land and figure out what floods and I wasn’t willing to deal with that so on to property #3.
Property #3 – We headed even further away from town out into the country. We knew we were looking for property that included a large outbuilding. We also knew that this was by far the most expensive piece of land we were looking at that day. After driving a few miles we arrived to our destination. The outbuilding was very, very nice and sat at the front of the property near the road. My initial thought was, “This building looks nothing like the outbuildings I have envisioned on our homestead.” We also got the privilege of meeting the owner of the property who happened to be there with some buddies. They were getting ready to go goose hunting, but he was more than happy to give us the grand tour. Again, you can learn a lot talking to someone other than the realtor. The building is divided into two sections – cold storage and warm storage. Upon entering the building it was very apparent this guy was a hunter. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many duck decoys in my life 🙂 but there was tons of storage space. We then went to the back of the building that he used as his ‘man cave.’ ‘Man cave’ was an accurate description too. He had a t.v., sofa, chairs, fridge, shelves and a mini bar with a bunch of wide open space and high ceilings. I’m quite sure there have been some interesting parties in the ‘man cave.’ It was a really nice building and we could have easily added a bathroom and lived in it.
We then headed outside to take a look at the rest of the property. There really was nothing special about it. Just a square piece of 5 acres with plowed down corn stalks. The neighbors had a nice fence line of evergreens separating the properties, but that was about it. That and a price tag that was double the price per acre over the other two properties we had seen. The seller told us he wasn’t motivated to sell and would not negotiate, but boy was he a nice guy. My hubby said he wanted to go back to hang out with him and go goose hunting, though he’s never gone goose hunting in his life 🙂
After seeing three different properties we shook hands with the realtor, asked him to keep looking around the area and we left.
For the rest of the day and into the evening we talked about these properties, what we liked about each and what we disliked about each. And as usual, the property I liked best hubby liked least and the one he liked best I liked least. However, as we continued to talk, things began to change and by early evening we had reached an agreement that Property #1 might be a good choice, but we had a requirement before we would consider the property any further. I emailed the realtor hoping to get some answers by the first of the week. Instead, a couple of hours later I had a response. Our requirement was that the seller add the 1.3 acres back to the listing if we were going to consider purchasing the property and the seller agreed to the requirement. In addition, he said he is considering selling the other 3 acres he owns. We didn’t ask for the additional 3 acres, but knowing that we might be able to purchase a total of 9.3 acres of property is pretty sweet.
We still have concerns about the property, but not big enough concerns to rule it out, so we are going back to look at it this weekend. This time we’ll take some measurements and look at it a bit differently. Can we see the girls running around the property with our dogs close behind? Where do we envision our house sitting? The garden, goats and chickens? Where would we put the barn and chicken coop? Have we found our future homestead or should we keep looking? Stay tuned for the answers.
Excited to see where your journey takes you!
I would strongly suggest looking into this town’s coveneants, ordinences and if they have any HOAs. These things are unfortunately very real and if they have a law; say against animals over 300lbs (like cows) or no roosters or no animals within 200 feet of anyone else’s house… Those will things you will have to contend with. And believe me, it’s not a good idea to ignore them! You will have your animals destroyed and heavy fines… Possibly even criminal charges.
I’m working on all of that now.