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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Acreage Hunters: Part One

My husband and I have looked at four acreages now.  We are not getting too excited about it yet because we would prefer to sell the condo in town first (rather than having to make an annoying conditional offer than might not be accepted).  But we wanted to see what was out there in our budget so we could get a feel for what we could afford and visualize what kind of property set-up we liked best. 


So what’s out there in our budget?


Not much.


I don’t want to share a ton of details on properties that are not mine but I do want to capture some of the acreage shopping journey.  I made these little legends for pricetag and location :)

 
Pricetag legend: 
$ - super affordable, like me working part-time affordable
$$ - In budget
$$$ - Would be a stretch, price would have to come down
 
Location legend:
& - super close, 30 mins and under to downtown
&& - drivable distance to downtown (30mins – 45mins range)
&&& - close to our maximum driving distance, which is 60 mins max from downtown





 

Acreage Number One
Price tag: $$
Location: &&
Land size: 4.6 acres

Notes: This first place we looked at by far had the nicest house so far, it was about 15 years old and had been moved to the property (the moved part made me a little nervous but besides some cracking on the front door frame I wouldn’t have really noticed).  The garage was really nice.  I’ve been parking my car outdoors for the last 15 years and having an actual attached garage sounds pretty spectacular for those lovely -20 winter days.
 
The land size felt a bit small to us and the pasture was dried out weeds and was not anywhere near being ready for ponies.  Also the placement of the pasture in relation to the house/driveway would have been even smaller just because of the way the property was set up.  The price seemed quite fair but since neither of us could really picture three horses living there - and the horses are the whole point of an acreage.  This property helped us realize that we would prefer 7 acres or more.  It is now sold.




 
 
Acreage Number Two
Price tag: $$$
Location: &&&
Land size: 10 acres
 
Notes:  We were quite divided on this property.  I didn’t actually want to look at it at all.  The house looked like a weird mobile home and something about it I just didn’t like.  But after repeatedly pointing out to me that it was 10 acres… my husband got me to go have a look. 
 
I was hard on this house.  It has a big price tag for what it is.  And the owners left boxes of garbage everywhere in the house.  It’s been for sale for almost two years, I feel like in that time they could have cleaned up at least a little bit.  The basement was unfinished and it was hard to get a sense of the space because of the amount of boxes, garbage and filth down there. 
 
It had a giant shop so my husband was pretty much in love with it.   But there was no garage to park my car and the shop was not insulated/heated so I wasn’t as thrilled about it.  The land size was nice, I’ll give it that.  And the road out front was very quiet and would be pretty excellent to ride down.  There aren’t really any close neighbours so it’s quite private too. 




 
My husband really liked it.  I was annoyed that they slapped such a huge price tag on it and didn’t bother to clean it up.  If the price drops more or my husband and I are feeling bold about making an offensive low ball offer I would consider looking it again.   It is still currently available.




 
Acreage Number Three
Price tag: $$
Location: &&
Land size: 7.22 acres
 
Notes:  This was kind of a sad house.  The owner had become ill and this house had fallen into disrepair.  The septic system needed to be replaced completely.  But this house would be way out of our budget for its location if it wasn’t in such rough shape.  We wanted to see how much work it would need to be livable.
 
It was a fairly original 1950s house with sort of a strange floor plan.  I really liked the upstairs/mainfloor. It needed some paint, new appliances and new flooring - but it felt homey to me.  My husband and the realtor both found it creepy.   Once we got into the basement I started to agree.  The basement smelled moldy and was full of garbage.  The three car garage had one section that was full to the roof garbage.  The front porch was unsafe to walk on and there were huge holes everywhere in the front yard.  There was a lot of water damage from a skylight and the windows were original.  Also carpet in the bathrooms... one of my biggest pet peeves.


Lol no


 
The property had nice mature trees and besides the holes the yard was cute. 
 
I was totally on board with this property until we got to the basement.  It felt like too big of a project to us and the issues with the septic made us nervous.  It is currently still available. 
 


Acreage Number Four:
Price tag: $
Location: &&&
Land size: 8.5ish acres

Notes:  This was a cute log house that I quite liked in the photos.  I liked it in person too, although it felt a bit small and dark inside.   The upstairs needed some updating (and maybe a skylight or more lighting so it didn’t feel like cave…)
The basement was creepy and kind of disgusting… it had plywood walls… and the bathroom was wallpapered with naked women posters… and there was a room with no windows or lights in it… only a bed.  *HUGE CRINGE*
Anyway, when we walked outside I fell in love with land.  The trees are beautiful and the ditches around the property look perfect for riding.  There are no visible neighbors and the property is quite private #hermitlifeyo

<3


I felt the wind in my hair and the sun on my face… and I felt like I was home.  My husband was not as excited, mostly because…
There are a lot of derelict outbuildings that need to be removed, which is not great.  I did see a bat for the first time, so that was cool. 
This property is in our maybe pile.  We like the price tag and the land but the house requires a lot of $$ to work for us, the janky outbuildings need to go and it is quite far away.  I would live there like tomorrow but my husband is the handy one who has to do all the work haha, so he needs to be on board.  But the big plus for me is that we could afford this place whether the condo sells or not… so yeah.  This property is still currently available.


Weed control goats near my office!




I'm not sure if we've found "the one" yet but it interesting to get some more information about what's available.  But there are a few more shopping excursions coming up soon!  If anyone has any acreage shopping tips to keep in mind I am such a noob about this and am happy to hear any thoughts or suggestions! 

Fingers crossed that the condo sells soon :)



25 comments:

  1. You really never know what you'll find when you walk into a stranger's house, that's for sure! Around these parts land is hard to come by and/or crazy expensive. Most of the places I looked at with a barn and land I could afford were in need of a lot of work.

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    1. I have definitely seen some things that I wish I hadn't haha! I think we are ok with a little bit of work, but I think we're going to need to become ok with a lot of work in order to stay in budget D:

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  2. Water is one of the biggest hassles with acreage living. It wasn't on my radar when we bought our place but now it would be one of my top proprieties. We are lucky and have city water on a trickle system as well as a well. But watering in the winter takes not-fun to a whole different level. If you can, find a place with auto waterers, or at the very least a tap that's freezeproof and close to where you're trough will be. Having a house on a cistern is nice in that you get good water, but you have to haul the water in (or have someone else do it) and make sure you find out if the liner has been inspected or replaced in recent years.

    As a side note, I have 4.6 acres (and just under 4 can b used for the ponies) and last summer I grazed 3 horses fairly easily. This year I've go 4 and I'm set up for really careful pasture management and while I probably will have to supplement hay later in the summer/early fall it is certainly doable. I too was looking for 7+ acres but in our budget and desired location we weren't having any luck.

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    1. I was so hoping that you would weigh in! I will definitely be checking out the water situation thoroughly. One of the problems with property #4 is that the well is actually on someone else's property... how weird is that.

      That's encouraging about the land size! Some of the really dry prairie type land I don't think would do much for our herd but 5 acres-ish north/west would probably be ok.

      Thanks so much! :)

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    2. Any time! Feel free to email me if you have any questions or just need to rant about the frustrating process.

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  3. Squee! I am totally going to live vicariously through your acreage hunt! Getting an acreage is my dream, but while my area is more affordable than yours in general, there's really limited availability of properties so it's tough to find something that isn't $$$ or &&&. If we could afford the upfront cost to build a house on an empty lot we'd have a lot more options, but finding a decent house on decent land is tough. Sounds like you're having some of the same struggles. I'm excited to see what you land on though!

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    1. I think it will be a lot more fun once the condo sells, but I can't lie - it is still pretty fun! I'm pickier than I thought I'd be. My husband thought I would want to buy the first property we saw just because I was so excited to shop. I totally hear you on the raw land cost, that would be our preference too but we don't have that kind of cash up front :(

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  4. Oh exciting! It's nice that your area has acreage to shop for and choices at least. It's super hard to find land where I live unless I am willing look west 40-60 min away. I did go look at a house that had a small 3 stall barn and a dry lot turnout for horses but they were asking for way too much and the house was going to need some work. I'm wistful and now I want to go shopping again haha

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    1. They aren't great choices but the properties do have potential! I'm hoping more come on the market soon :) I hope something turns up for you too soon ;)

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  5. Exciting!! But I hate left behind garbage too. The land of the last one was beautiful.

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    1. Yeah it creeps me out a bit! But we'll do what we have to do :) I love the land on property #4 so so much.

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  6. Water and zoning would where I would start for investigating. I have no idea how things work in Canada so if that sounds ridiculous ignore the American ;)

    Also think about drainage and how the area might change with time. The barn I'm at has been surrounded by residential and the runoff has caused a huge erosion problem.

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    1. Please ignore the way I butchered the English language. I'm in need of a nap for brain function apparently.

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    2. That makes good sense to me! I hadn't really thought about drainage, but I definitely should be :) It's been a very wet spring so it's probably a great time to see where water is sitting.

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  7. Acreage shopping is simultaneously exhilarating and annoying haha. We ended up buying a parcel that was 17+ untouched acres, but I don't think I would recommend that route to anyone now knowing what I know.... lol. Hopefully you find something perfect for your needs and your budget soon!

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    1. I totally feel that! It's very expensive to buy raw land (and you need like 70% down or something crazy) so we'll be buying something with a house on it, probably a pretty janky house at that haha. 17 acres would be fabulous!

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  8. That last property looks super pretty. The shed at the other one looks big enough to be a barn so that'd be good.

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    1. It's so pretty! I wish I had more pics to share. I didn't even think about making that shop into a barn.... equestrian fail!

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  9. Land, land, land. Everything else can be changed.

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    1. Agreed! That's why I love #4 so much :)

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  10. How exciting to start looking! I hope you find the dream property (or at least one you can shape into the dream). Water would be #1. Shops like that one property had is gold too--even if you don't make it a barn, it would be a great place to divide up and make a tack storage area/place to bring your horse inside for ferrier in bad weather and also possibly hay storage. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for the tips! It's fun to look for sure, I hope we can find something soon (with good water and enough room!) :)

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  11. I hope the right thing comes along at a perfect time for y'all.

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