Monday, February 13, 2012

Step One: Finding Property

Our method of finding property was probably not how most people go about it.  We were not actively looking for land when we discovered the property we ultimately purchased.  And we never viewed or considered any other property.
I’m not sure what prompted my husband to look, but one afternoon he sent me the link to a listing in our target area.  The price was more than our target, and it already had a house on it, so it would not normally have shown up in our search results.  After talking it over, we decided it wouldn’t hurt to look at it, so I contacted a real estate agent who is a friend of my family.  I went with her to see the place without my husband.

Plastic Sheeting Greenhouse
We knew from the listing that the house on the property was in a pretty poor state and was being sold “as is”.  Since our plan was to tear the existing house down, it was a bit weird to still walk through the house and ask questions about it.  I learned that the house is about 200 years old, that the portion in the front with the living room and dining room was original, but that the back portion with the kitchen was added on later.  I also got to tour some of the large backyard, which is mostly wooded with a small creek running through, and a nice lawn area around the house.  My first impression of the property was that it met our needs in terms of size and shape, but the house was definitely not worth fixing up and needed to be torn down.  I told my husband about the property and house, including some of the more amusing features, such as a plastic sheeting greenhouse, and a “master bedroom” with cardboard ceiling.  We agreed that he should see it before we made any decisions.

Master Suite with Cardboard Ceiling

After my husband saw the property, and we explored a greater portion of the back yard, his impression was not nearly as dour as mine regarding the house.  He felt that many of the things that made it look rundown were cosmetic and that structurally it was pretty sound.  We talked and talked about the property, spoke to the township about zoning and other regulations we might encounter if we purchased the property, and finally agreed to make an offer.  One of the major selling points of this particular property was the existing structure.  We agreed that we would be able to live in it temporarily while we built our dream home, saving us the cost of rent while we built.
And so it began. . .

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