We’re back from our lovely Househunting Holiday. We had a wonderful time! It felt like the old days when we were dating and first married – I’d forgotten how it felt to be so free and relaxed. You really have no idea how much freedom you had until you have children! At least now we appreciate it so much more when we get it!
As mentioned in my last post we were to view two properties. We had our favorite, but know from experience that often times a property can look great on paper (and with a few skillfully arranged photographs) but turn out to be quite different when you view it in real life. It helped that the places we went to were already on Google Streetview, but even then you really need to see the surrounding area to get a good feel for the lay of the land. In our wet climate it’s important to note the hills and valleys, however small because the two biggest issues in this part of the world are sunlight (as in, getting as much of it as you can) and water (as in, drainage).
We viewed the “second favorite” property first. It was 8 acres with a lovely long driveway bordered by pasture. We expected the old house to be a tear-down and it really was. But the land itself was not too impressive either. I’m grateful for all the experience we’ve had in viewing acreage – as frustrating as it has been – because right away we could see the problems. The land was partly cleared, but what was left to do was dense forest with heavy undergrowth, deadwood, and mature trees. The real problem was that most of the land lay at the bottom of a slope and it was VERY wet. Basically it would be useless as proper pasture for a good half of the year. Plus it would make getting clearing equipment in there quite difficult. Finally, it didn’t get much light and it wasn’t certain that clearing would solve that problem, given the odd shape of the property.
From the minute we drove onto the property I was unimpressed and that feeling only grew as we walked the land. Although it hadn’t been our first choice, it was a close second. Leaving there we both wondered what we would encounter at the next place, and braced ourselves for disappointment.
We had just enjoyed a fabulous lunch in town (seriously, the best chicken tenders I have ever had!). It took less than 15 minutes to get to the property even though it feels like you are way out in the country. The street was long and lovely and our destination was the very last place at the end of the road (so peaceful and quiet!!). We passed beautiful properties along the way and both of us were getting a very positive feeling, though we were afraid to say it: we practically held our breaths until we got to the place!
At the end of this long country road, bordered by Crown Land on one side with miles of walking/riding trails, sat this 4 acre gem in the rough. We were a bit early and, knowing the place was vacant, we began to walk the land excitedly. Not much of it is cleared, but what isn’t is half brush and half woods, the latter being rather young trees without much in the way of undergrowth and deadwood. It’s just the sort of land-clearing project that could be taken on by a couple of city slickers without getting ourselves in way over our heads.
The lot is a rectangle that slopes gently to the south, with the house and frontage at the top (north) end. The whole surrounding area is a gentle slope leaving drainage to be a worry for neighbours much further down the way (despite the recent heavy rains the land was quite dry) and this property is basically at the top. The winter sun was almost at its zenith (this being shortly after noon) and a good portion of it made its way to the house. With only a few trees being removed it would be excellent, and this is when the sun is almost its lowest in the sky (we’ve become very good at assessing treelines, heights and orientation, all in reference to the sun’s position in the sky). In summer we should have plenty of strong light, but even in winter we won’t be in the dark.
We had already decided this was the place before the realtor even got there, but the home did not disappoint either. It’s an older mobile home and you never know what to expect with those, but this looked quite good from the outside. Inside was roomy, although not large, but quite liveable. It was obviously well cared-for and was clean and dry. It will make a very comfortable and adequate space until we decide what sort of second dwelling to put up, and when. There was a very pretty new garage/workshop which will make an excellent office space with room for Husband’s drums and music equipment. All it needs is some insulation and a wood stove and it will be a comfy year-round extra space for living. Our trailer will provide guest acommodations for any and all who will come visit us so space should not be an issue.
A new pumphouse (that matches the garage) provides a garden shed/storage too. The well is drilled (better than dug ’round here) and the water pressure looked good (always run the shower to see what you’ll be in for!). But the best part of all is the price – it’s well below what we wanted to spend and will provide us with a lot of wiggle room for budgeting, saving, and improvements. The mortgage payments will be very comfortable and leaves us with the option of renting out if we decide we really hate it and need to move back to the City.
I was on the phone to our realtor as soon as we got back in the car and he’s going to be putting together an offer that we’ll submit in the next couple of days. With the other properties we bid on we knew there were issues going into it. This one has cleared most of the hurdles, though there are always things that can come up unexpectedly. It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks ahead of us and I’m crossing my fingers and toes that it all goes smoothly.
The criteria we laid out previously has served us well – I can’t believe how much it helped to have a proper focus for searching, and definitely narrowed the search down to a manageable level. It’s been less than two weeks and here we are already. With the place vacant (the owner recently got married and moved to her new husband’s bigger spread) it’s entirely possible we could be moving in just a few weeks. But, I’m jumping ahead of myself here…stay tuned!