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Monday, February 8, 2010

We found a farm. Let the games (er, negotiating) begin!

You know I grow a large garden on a farm.  But did you know that the garden is grown on rented farmland?  Yep, we live in town.  My garden is about a 15 minute drive from our house.  We've gone back and forth for years about purchasing a house in the country, where our sons can run and we can grow on our own property.  Problem is, land around here is prime farmland and expensive.  The taxes are high and properties are costly.

Still, when you have a dream it's hard to shake it from your skull. 

I haven't mentioned this yet, so it's fresh news!  Last week we made an offer on a rural property.  Yes, I'm excited, but also scared out of my wits.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me tell you!

We're bidding on a property in foreclosure.

You may be thinking, "Great!  They'll get a good deal!".  Which you would be right about.  But.... when you buy a foreclosed property you can't have a contingency (which means, "here's my offer, but before I can buy it you need to wait for me to sell my current home").  Nope.  If you already have a home, which we do, you'll have to buy it without selling your current home first (*gulp*).  So, we could be carrying two mortgages for a while until our home sells.

How would we manage?  Well, even though we're on a single income (my husband works in a warehouse), we're thrifty.  We squirrel away money and have quite a bit of savings.  We'd have to dip into it if we couldn't make both payments.  We would qualify for the homebuyer's tax credit since we've been in our current home for over 5 years (that would also help replenish some savings).  We'd probably be okay, even if our current home took a year or more to sell.  We renovated our current home top to bottom, so I hope it wouldn't take a year to sell, but who knows.  Another way we'd hope to make ends meet is by renting out a trailer on the new property. 

The farm property.... let me tell you a bit about it.  We first looked at it late last summer, but then it went to auction and sold.  We figured that was the end of it.  But a couple of weeks ago it was put back on the market.  (This is beyond my understanding, but apparently it was purchased back by the bank from auction).  Back to the property... Best of all, it's over 10 acres of land!  At least 3 acres are woods, at least 4-5 is tillable for gardens.  It's a rolling piece of land, very beautiful.

I have no idea what the former owners did for a living, but they put so much money into this place - it's crazy.  There is the old 1880 farmhouse, which they renovated (but left some awesome original details which I'll tell you about later), and added a new 3 story addition.  The house, with the addition, has 4-6 bedrooms.  It's big.  Which is also scary, because it's currently heated with only propane.  We had a contractor go through it last week, and he estimated it would cost us $4000 per year to heat it with propane.  $4000!  I almost choked when he told me that.  Don't worry, though, we had already planned to purchase a wood stove or two right away.  By using a wood stove, the furnace would (hopefully) only kick in at a bit at night.

In addition to the house, there are two trailers.  One is newer and salvageable, and has a newer pole building / garage.  We'd rent that trailer out, probably to my in-laws.  The other trailer we may need to get rid of, although I'm hoping it can be salvaged to house farm apprentices in the summer.

There is a garage with a lean-to that would make a great chicken coop.

An old barn on the property was renovated, and now has a steel roof and walls, horse stalls, and a few other rooms.  The darn thing has it's own newer furnace.  That's crazy, to heat that barn with propane.  We sure wouldn't do that.(maybe I could eventually attach a greenhouse to it, and heat that for a few weeks in the spring with the furnace...just thinking out loud here).

I've saved the most unusual outbuilding for last.  There is a poolhouse.  Or at least, that's what the former owners used it as.  My mother-in-law and I believe the poolhouse is actually an original mid-1800s log cabin that was re-sided and renovated inside.  The inside setup still looks like an original log cabin of our area, with the sleeping loft up top.  But, it's now renovated & modernized and has it's own kitchen, pipe for wood stove (stove is gone), stained glass windows, tanning bed (ha! me? no thanks), attached sauna (again, ha!), and indoor jacuzzi.  The little kitchen is cool, but I would have rather been handed an original log cabin, ya know?  Anyway, there is a wrap-around deck with another outdoor jacuzzi and a swimming pool.

Now, before you wonder how we have this much money, let me tell you that everything is pretty much trashed.

The place has been empty, we're guessing for at least 2 years and maybe up to 4 years.  Teenagers were partying out there a couple of summers ago (our realtor lives nearby and remembers, lol).  So, doors are kicked in, the central air unit was stolen, the trailers have a lot of indoor water damage (from side doors being left open for months, maybe years now, and rain & snow getting in).  The pool is shredded, who knows if the hot tubs are usable or sellable, and the poolhouse (log cabin to me) has some rotted siding and missing doors.  The decks around the cabin & pool may need to be torn down.

The main house is the best-kept building on the property.  One of the doors is kicked in, some pipes were cut in the basement (maybe one burst), and there are a few other things.  But compared with the other buildings the house is in good shape.

We have no idea about the well and septic.

So now you see why I'm freaking out....

The bank has finally dropped the price to 1/2 of the asking price before foreclosure.  The amount we offered is much less than that even, and is not much more than what the land alone would cost.  There is so much work to be done out there, and so many unknown variables, we figure that our offer is pretty realistic.

So, we'll see what happens.  I'll keep you posted.  Keep us in your prayers, that it will work out whichever way is best.

Thanks for reading the All-Natural-Mama Blog, home to Wishful Acres Organic Farm.


  1. Oh, Oh, Oh, I'm glad you made the offer. Trust me, it is terrifying!!! We survived doing this on one salary, so can you. You've got to follow those dreams. Good luck with the offer.

  2. So excited for you!! Won't it be so nice to be able to just walk out to your garden?!? I hope everything turns out wonderfully for yall!!

  3. Keep'n your farm dreams in my prayers! Very exciting prospect!

  4. How very exciting! Hope it all goes well & they accept your offer.