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should I buy this??


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#1 kappydell

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 10:33 AM

I know I did not plan on buying anything for quite a while, but...!
I found a fixer upper in small rural town (pop 225) close to my family (35 miles) selling for (brace yourself) $35,000.
It is a fixer upper, but is what I have always wanted - a dutch colonial, 3 BR, 2 story, eat in kitchen, older house with porches front & back.
I have enough in savings to purchase outright if I have to, but want to try for rural development loan (my income is small enough to get a 3% loan). The only thing is....i am just widowed, and had not planned on going anywhere, yet this seems too good to be true. I will drive out tomorrow to look at it. My gut says, if roof is good and furnace is good, go for it. Payments would run under $300 a month - I would not even have to move out right away, could afford to live where I am now AND get the house. I am familiar with the small town - very rural - had considered it as good place to live if the SHTF one day. Am I being a silly widow, or does buying this thing make sense? Any gut reactions? I'd sure like to have a home (I rent now) signed and sealed, even if I had to pay outright. That would cut my savings considerably, but still...a paid for place? yes, it is under 1/2 acre, but all I'd want to put in is a garden & chicken coop anyway. thoughts?

#2 out_of_the_ordinary

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:09 AM

If you decide to try to buy it, make sure to get a home inspection done. When we made an offer on our house, it was put into the written offer that we could walk away (and get our deposit money back) based on the results of a home inspection. Our lender required it, but I would have had one done anyway. I think the home inspection between $300 and $500. Although our house was sold "as is" (sellers were not doing any repairs and we knew it was a fixer-upper), this gave us an "out" if the inspector came across something we didn't want to get into (for us that would have been something big, like the foundation, termites, ect.). I think it was also good to do because even though we didn't have any major problems, it gave us a better idea of what we were dealing with.

Another good thing to have done (if you do buy it) is a survey by a Professional Land Surveyor. Where the present owners claim the property line to be or where the neighbors have "considered" for years the property line to be isn't always where the property line actually is. Dh is a surveyor and it is hard to believe some of the neighbor disputes he's come across.

Praying for you...

Edited by out_of_the_ordinary, 14 July 2011 - 11:10 AM.

Psalm 27:13

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

#3 Becca_Anne

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 01:00 PM

Kappy it sounds like a great deal. Get it inspected though!

#4 kappydell

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 03:08 PM

yes, about that inspection...(you better know i believe about some of the disputes...and sometimes small towners are worst of all!!) Good idea about putting it in the contract to purchase as financial protection. I was wondering about the foundation - that areas most common natural disaster is flooding and we have had 3 very wet years. I think I will get the property lines re-checked, too, as I plan on planting some fruit trees and other prermaculture things, and would hate for the neighbors to claim them once they started bearing. Don't mind sharing, but only after my pantry has its fill.... Then I guess Im not being too frivolous, then.

#5 Violet

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 04:58 PM

Sounds like a bargain, even for the land. If it is structurally sound and no termites, etc. then I would go for it ! Cosmetic things can be done later, a little at a time.
I can, you can, too !

#6 Ambergris

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 05:03 PM

I hope it works out well for you, K.


"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965)


#7 Twilight

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 07:46 PM

If you want fruit trees, a garden etc, check the soil. All land will not make a garden or grow fruit trees unless you
on obtaining everything you would need for a garden- such as soil, manure, compost , lime or whatever it might require.

I too, am a widow and living alone.I bought this place with thoughts of a garden, berry patch, rhubarb, asparagus and fruit trees.
I did not take into consideration all the walnut trees. Nor did I know the soil. I had the forester come out and we did
a lot of talking and walking. There were things I was puzzled about and it became clear with the answers he gave me.
This place has patches of soil- small patches here there and yon. I have never seen anything like it.
For instance I water my garden carrying a 6 qt. and a 3 gallon bucket of water. There is no sign of that water nourishing the plants.
As much water as I give them it should last several days at least.
There are so many things to look into. Do by all means get a reliable inspector. If there is anything that needs repair check who and where you can get to do the work. Where will the supplies come from?
Check if that is a reasonable price for the times and area.
Why is it for sale? Are you able to do everything that needs to be done? or will you have to hire everything done?
Are there people you know to help you get established?
Are the things you need nearby or will you have to go a good ways to get anything you want/need. Is it a dying town or a lively one?

Also are you emotionally ready to make this move? Is this something you have planned for a long time? Usually they say that you should wait a year after the death of your husband to make a decision such as moving.

#8 themartianchick

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:33 AM

Also are you emotionally ready to make this move? Is this something you have planned for a long time? Usually they say that you should wait a year after the death of your husband to make a decision such as moving.


This is the part that I am most concerned about for you...Also, while this house may seem like a bargain, I have to wonder if there are others out there that might be even better suited to your circumstances?

#9 kappydell

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:59 PM

I called my dad, he is a retired building contractor and he is going to look at it to see if it will be worth fixing up or not.
He also suggested some of the closer surrounding towns, but they all want $15,000 more for just an empty lot. My DH and I had been saving hard the last 4 yrs to get a down payment to put with a rural development loan for a house in this town or one of a couple other similar ones (we were both hermit-like in our social tendencies, so isolation for us was a plus...). This one I could afford to buy outright, AND still have lots of savings left from his life insurance, plus my income alone is ample for me to live on. I need not make any sudden moves as I have someone willing to pay rental if I don't feel like moving in later. I kind of like the idea of having a fully paid for house in a small rural town as a haven if the SHTF. I hope it is fix uppable, myself. I missed a couple earlier similar places and DH was not amused....he said I should have jumped on them.
So no, I don't think this is a sudden case of 'widow's madness'...My dads only objection to this was that the house could be junk, and that this town is way out from any main highways and isolated (a plus for me!). He grew up there (that I did not know) and he always liked the area, and says he always thought it was beautiful country, but it was just too isolated for a man with a family to find work in his line, so he moved away. I told him if I did purchase the house he had an open invite to come out and go hunting.

#10 Mother

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 01:47 PM

Kappydell, having bought and sold a few homes I feel I can add my two cents. The house may be all you want or think you want and you have a place to raise a garden and have some chickens. Are you allowed to have chickens and a garden? I would almost assume that you can with the town being so small but check just to be sure. Will your neighbors appreciate you having a rooster crowing at five in the morning?

I don't know your age or physical ability but have you thought about what happens in a few years or if you were to become injured? Is the house handicapped accessible or can it easily be made so in the future? Is there a bedroom down stairs that you would be able to use if climbing the stairs became a problem?

Not just the soil but the lay of the land and the access to sun might dictate to where a garden would grow well. You mention permaculture. Trees, bushes, berries, and etc which give a more or less permanent supply of food are good but Permaculture encompasses much more than just food. Be sure to assess not only the site but the house as well to see if you can make things work easily together. Garden/greenhouse/chicken coop/access to kitchen/and etc are an important part of permaculture. Even the areas inside the house should be considered for optimum work and relaxation space. If you aren't already familiar with the full permaculture concept try www.permies.com for some interesting info.

Even if you feel this is a move you have been anticipating for a long time, it may not be nearly as fun or rewarding to do it alone despite the fact that you like solitude. That brings up another thought. Will you have solitude in a small town? Those small villages differ in their friendliness. Some are very clannish and do not take to outsiders easily. They may well leave you alone but it's possible they may treat you with disdain. On the other hand, some, like the one I grew up in, are very outgoing and friendly and can sometimes be TOO interested in other's lives. The same could be said for the neighbors. They may or may not be helpful but non-interfering. If they have children, will they be well behaved or will you end up having them in your back yard when you don't want them there. It might be a good idea to ask around and to talk to some of the neighbors. Look at the house more than once, wander the yard, wander the town and see what others are doing during the day.

As a SHTF shelter, what skillset/knowledge will you bring to the survival of the town? And what will they offer in return? Do they have guns? Are they willing to protect one another AND you if you are new? Do they grow gardens, can, prepare or stock up? If you end up being the only prepper what happens if the SHTF? Will you willingly share and/or be prepared to defend what you have from your neighbors? Would the property even be defensible by itself?

What about heat if you would be moving to a cold climate? Is there a wood supply near? Would you be able to harvest it or be able to buy it if things get really bad? Will the homeowners insurance even allow a wood stove? What about prevailing wind for cooling in the hot months? Do windows in the house take advantage of those?

What about nearby services. Are there hospitals, ambulance services, doctors, groceries, fire station, police and the like near enough to be comfortable with? Often times home insurance is dependent on how far from the nearest fire station you are. We were turned down by two because we were 5.4 instead of 5 mile from one.

It's possible that none of these even apply to your situationbut perhaps others are reading this thread with the intention of finding a home. We are a transient society for the most part and it's easy for some to just pick up and move but buying a home with the intention to have even a mini-homestead/BOL usually is undertaken with the idea that we will stay long enough to at least harvest our plantings. Most existing homes will not give us everything we need in them but it helps to assess not only what we need now but in the future and then choose a place that meets a large percentage of those needs and wants. Only you know what you really want to do there. You may find it's even a bit different than before you husband died but please, take time to reassess what it is you really DO want this home for. That will give you a lot of answers of what to look for in this or any other home.

I wish you the best of luck Kappydell. I admire you for wanting to continue a dream you started a while back.

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#11 Skagitgal

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 11:58 AM

Kappydell;

you know yourself better than anyone else. In the middle of some night, when you wake, start thinking objectively

about the points Mother raised. Do the 'good' side and the 'bad' side of every point. If at any time during this introspection

you feel a sense of peace come over you, Our Father, is giving you a message. Even if so many things seem right, on the outward

appearance of it all, if you feel the relief at the number of 'bad' points, it might be best to pass it by.

I have been a widow. I judged myself, by the decisions I had to make under stress. If the majority of them were the 'right' thing

to do; then I knew I was capable of making life changing decisions for myself.

The land and house seem like a good buy. The amount of land is not overwhelming, but capable of providing you with crops

and animals. The condition and money amount of repairs are the big unknown. Good to get your father involved.

Don't commit all your money, leave a rainy day fund. Get 3 estimates for any repair, go for it. Having a secure house and land is

priceless to your peace of mind.

#12 kappydell

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 01:10 AM

Thank you all so much for the input...some I had thought of, and some not. Ironically, when my father looked at the house on the internet he recognized it. It was his grandmothers, and he lived in it during his childhood. His auntie lived across the street. Now I know at least the house was built pre-1920. He looked at the outside, and said there would be quite some work, but not to panic, as the repairs needed could be used as bargaining points, ditto the fact that it is a town with no jobs...everyone works out of town. (He also is helping me haggle on the price...something I know nothing about.) What a surprise that the house was once in my family, albeit long before I was born! Oh yes, he said there was room for a garden. I did think of the stairs...it has one of the bedrooms, and the bathroom on the main floor. Ditto the laundry hookup - main floor. We go on Tuesday to look at the inside, and the realtor was very careful to warn me that it was 'rough'. I shall have to look...some folks idea of rough is far different from others. Again, my father is coming along - Im grateful indeed to have his knowledge and help. Much as I like the idea of owning my home free & clear, Im leery of over-extending my finances...

#13 Mother

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 07:14 AM

You will be in my prayers tomorrow. The fact that it was my grandparents at one time would indear it to me. I am very much into family heritage. Perhaps you will be able to get a feel for what it might have been to live in the house then. It might give you ideas for living simply now. Good luck!
:bighug2:

#14 AMarthaByHeart

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:43 AM

Kappydell--may the Lord give you and your father widsom and peace in knowing exactly what to do.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,
in all of your ways acknowledge HIM and HE will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6


#15 Violet

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 12:00 PM

What an interesting thing to happen. Keep us posted.
I can, you can, too !

#16 kappydell

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 04:23 PM

disappointing news...the realtor called last night. she went by to get ready for the showing and there was a new, strange lock box on the door. after some checking around, she found out the house was sold june 30 (before I ever saw it) but nobody told the realtors. what a bummer, but it was kind of a long shot. my dad said he would have liked me to get it, but thought it might have cost too much for fixing up anyway, so although we are disappointed, we are philosophical. at least I did not put any $$ into it...i still have our home buying fund. maybe next time (sigh).

#17 out_of_the_ordinary

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:08 AM

I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. I know how disappointing it is! When we were house-searching, we had several places fall though. Those houses just weren't meant to be our home.
Psalm 27:13

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

#18 kappydell

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:16 PM

I am philosophical....at least I have a home NOW, and can take my time looking for the right one. No rush at all. In that respect I am sooooo lucky. My dad was amazing when he came to check out another. After 30 years as a building inspector he can tell on sight if something is up to code or not. My realor loves him, and he loves to teach us things...like the tell tale signs of a bad roof, or whether or not the basement has had nold in the past and was just cleaned up, and stuff like that. Im lucky I think, to have him as a resource, and treasure him more than ever.

#19 kappydell

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:18 PM

I am philosophical....at least I have a home NOW, and can take my time looking for the right one. No rush at all. In that respect I am sooooo lucky. My dad was amazing when he came to check out another. After 30 years as a building inspector he can tell on sight if something is up to code or not. My realtor loves him, and he loves to teach us things...like the tell tale signs of a bad roof, or whether or not the basement has had mold in the past and was just cleaned up, and stuff like that. Im lucky I think, to have him as a resource, and treasure him more than ever.

#20 kappydell

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 10:34 PM

OMG. Dad & I were looking at houses again, and all were pronounced 'junk' by him - needing roofs, major water leakage, etc. and i was getting tired of trying when all of a sudden the price came down on a house he inspected and pronounced 'well built' with a '30-year-roof' and its only drawback being that the garage floor was no longer even, and the door needed some work; both easily fixable by dad & me for $500. I could not believe my eyes. Its a ranch with only 2 small steps and you are in (I use a cane), a huge yard (almost 4/10 acre) with a brick barbecue grill, and an indoor stone fireplace built for heating the house (my dad pointed out the heat circulation holes).
All applicances except refrig (fairly new washer, dryer, stove, micro, dishwasher, water softener, etc) included!
It was built in the pre-air-conditioning 1950s with attention to natural lighting and ventilation i have not seen in new construction for many years. My dad was building inspector and building contractor 30 years, he knows his stuff so well it is scary. So when he pronounced this house in move-in condition, i was delighted. Better yet, the price accepted was WAAAAAY below market value; it was an estate sale and they wanted to get it sold. I actually had enough money to buy it outright (No mortgage!!) My offer was accepted this morning, and i am still pinching myself. All i have to do is put up a fence in the back yard for the dogs, and my old friend (known for 25 years) can move out of the scary-gunshots-at-night neighborhood she live in in Gary, IN and buddy-up with me to split costs in boring, peaceful, small town Wisconsin. (I am so grateful to God for allowing me to help her, she is a humble and wonderful person.) I hope I don't sound like a jerk for being so happy.



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