Tuesday, March 22, 2016

We're back home (ugh!)

Long post, with lots to catch up on.

We had a good productive trip house/land hunting, visiting with friends. We didn't find a house we liked (looked at 3) but did find a couple of properties we really liked. As I mentioned before, there just aren't a lot of houses for sale that are what we are looking for (guess that's probably also a factor that there isn't a lot of population there, either LOL). We did look at one house that we have been watching for awhile (and wondering why it is not selling). The mountain range views were AMAZING, but the house is just too small for me. 1500 sf, smaller than what we have and with it still being 3 bedroom 2 bath, the rooms are even smaller than I have now. It was kept very nice and they took very good care of their house/shop and property, but for some reason they let the south side of the outside cedar siding get all weather damaged and it's peeling up, etc. The shop was also a bit small for DH. But we were keeping it on our list of maybe's.

We looked at one house on a river. The agent was showing us a piece of land down the road from it, so we decided to take a look at the home for sale (we had seen it on zillow and it was "ok"). But the owner needed a couple of hours to get it spiffed up. So we went and had lunch and came back at appointed time. They had like 4 or 5 people hopping in cars to leave there....geez, how messy was it? LOL. It was an ok house. Much bigger than I want (3500 sf) and they really didn't take care of it or their yard very well. Their Christmas tree was still laying out on the deck! The realtor was trying walk us through the yard to get to the side area and it was full of dog poop. We weren't impressed. No wonder they have been trying to sell it for 2 years.

Then we looked at a house up in a canyon, right along a creek. Having that creek basically off your back deck/patio was awesome, the house was nice, but really quirky designed and right off the main road, so too much traffic. Plus there was no cell phone service there, which probably means crappy internet too.

Our very first stop had been to look at a piece of property, 3 acres in a 7 lot "subdivision" (but nothing else around at all, surrounded by state forest land), along a river. But once DH got to see the layout of it in person, there is really very little of it that is usable/build-able. It's a triangle shaped lot and most of the acreage is river bank. Now before anyone says "what about flooding?" (like my mom did) let me add that this is VERY high bank property. Like 80 feet above the river. No chance of flooding. So, while it is on the river, it's not really a river access type of lot (you could make your way down the steep embankment, if you wanted), mostly it's just seeing the river.  Lot 1 is also for sale, so we went over and looked at it. 2 acres and turned out we liked that lot much better. It still had state forest land on one side, like the lot at the other end did. There is a very nice house on lot 2, the only lot that has been built on in the 10 years since this got subdivided.  This was on Thursday and we ended up meeting with the builder to look at the lots on Saturday.

The funniest part was all this time DH has been saying he doesn't want to live too close to the train tracks. doesn't want to listen to a train. But almost all the properties in this area are near the train going by, so as we were looking at a river property, with train on other side, the train went by. We sat in our car with the windows rolled down listening to it (and watching it go by across the river, in the trees) looked at each other and we both said "I like it!".  So, now we like the train, LOL.

We had dinner at our friends new house, about 20 miles away, on both Thursday and Friday evenings. It was really nice and fun evenings (and saved me money!) and their new home they built is just beautiful. Pretty much what we want in most aspects. Their property was more expensive (14 acres) so back out the difference in property cost and they built for right in our budget, so we are thinking this is doable.

We also looked at some other river front 1/2 acre lots right in the small town, that this guy DH knows from when he used to be in business in construction, has for sale. Not what we want at all. We don't want to be in town, even if it is a small town of 800.

So, Saturday morning we slept in a bit, got up and had another good breakfast at the only restaurant in town and then DH called the guy who lives in the house on lot 2. He had already talked to him on the phone before and after our late breakfast we went back over so we could talk with them and ask some more questions, before the builder showed up. Such nice people, in their early 60's. I loved the guy. He was so friendly and funny. I love a person that can laugh at them-self. We got a tour of their HUGE home. Two stories, over 5000 sf. just for the two of them. I would HATE to have to clean all that. Yikes. I was kind of wondering how in the heck, based on their jobs, they could afford this probably 700k+ house, and he said his wife got a big inheritance, so they used it for the home.

The problem with the two lots for sale and their lot, is you have to build back so far that there really is no view, from your home, of the river. I'm kind of like, why pay for river property if you can't see it unless you walk out to the edge of your property? Then they mentioned that lot 3 was for sale, the ladies that own it just haven't listed it. So we walked over there. And it has a wonderful view of the river from where you would build a home! The lady went back inside to call them up and ask if they were still wanting to sell and they said yes, so I called them on on way home and we are waiting to hear back on how much they want for the land.  Everyone that is trying to sell is taking a loss, from what they paid 10 years ago. They all paid more, but that was before economy crash. Lot 7 (the 3 acre lot) is at a higher asking price than lot 1 (2 acre lot). Lot 3 is also 2 acres, but has the better view, so I'm thinking they might come in asking in between those two prices. We'll see.

Then the builder showed up and we talked with him for almost 3 hours. I'd say only about a 1/2 hour of it was pertinent, usable info to us on if he could build us what we want there with our budget. He liked to talk, LOL. But he sounded like it was do-able and we left there pretty excited. It was 5pm, and we were done, so decided to head home. It's 6 1/2 hours from there to here. Not bad and a do-able drive to see DD/my mom or for DD to drive to see us.

The next day DH was emailing with this builder's boss - who is the guy Ted used to know from over here (a millionaire many times over now) and he basically acted like this is way out of our budget. Quoted $35k for septic and well. Said in this county all the new driveways have to be paved now (15-20k and we're waiting to find out, but don't think this is true. It's not in the covenants) and then site prep work....all in all he's like 75k-90k! We are like WTH?! There is no way it would cost that much. We already know what the current neighbor there spent for his well and septic (15k total) and our friend who just built 20 miles down the road spent 20k (because he upgraded his well). Certainly not 35k and it certainly doesn't need (or would even cost) 20-35k of site prep work. Our friend said he didn't spend more than $40k for well, septic, site prep and a paved driveway. DH isn't stupid, he used to work in construction. DH is like, crap, he could rent a dozer and backhoe for a week and do it himself. He also said we were outside of the fire district so wouldn't be able to get insurance. So, that builder's boss pretty much took the wind right out of our sails. Not sure what his deal is, other than he has really been trying to push on us those 1/2 acre lots he has for sale on the river, right in town. Now, while it's a very small town, we still have zero desire to live in town. We looked at them and it's not what we are looking for. As he was bursting our bubble, he was still pushing those lots. He was also trying to sell us a 14 acre piece, but it's too far up in a canyon and no cell service there either, so I'm assuming internet would be an issue too. Plus, it's way out of our budget.

So, as I'm typing all this out this morning, DH wakes up and his computer isn't working. It turns on but see nothing. Tried plugging a different monitor and cable and nothing. Dang. it's only like 8 months old. So, I took an early lunch break and went to BestBuy Geek Squad. He thought it was a hardware problem and still would be covered under warranty. Yay! Then he says they have to send it out and it would take 3-4 WEEKS! Well, that's not going to work. So, I take it back to my car and go back towards home to this repair place near our house that has been there over 20 years. They have a sign on their door they went out of business. So, I head back past Best Buy to the only other computer repair place I know and they have a sign on their door that they have moved - down near where I was at the first place. Good grief! Anyway, DH should have his computer back in 2-3 days.

While I was gone, and DH, was outside one of the ladies that owns the lot we like left a message with the price they would list it for, if they listed it with a realtor. DH will talk with that contractor tonight and get the building costs all penciled out and see if we are in our budget. If they listed with a realtor to sell it would cost them 6% of the selling price, so maybe they'd negotiate some. Plus the other 2 lots have been for sale for a year or two, so they need to take that into account.  Using our realtor (a seriously cute gay guy, LOL) and them not using a realtor, I didn't know how that works, but he just explained it to me that he would offer it as a 2.5% commission deal and if they refuse that, then he said he can act as a broker to just handle the paperwork only, and he charges 1% for that, so at least he gets something for his time working with us. If you've ever watched Million Dollar Listing LA - he totally reminds me of Madison on the show. Which, BTW it was my he-man/construction guy DH who got me watching that show, LOL.

The nice "neighbor lady" called me back a little while ago. She called the guy who did their septic and got his current prices (so nice of her) and answered a few other questions we had had. They have homeowner's insurance, that covers fire, and pay about $1300 a year (about same I currently pay), so that was wrong info, too. The covenants talked about allowed animals and said "no other animals allowed" except for....but didn't list chickens. She's like, oh of course you can have some chickens...just watch out for the wild animals to get them. LOL.  They weren't required to pave their driveway, either, so she has no idea where he got that info from, either.

We have now gotten the names/numbers of several builders in that area, so we can get some estimates. If we can do it in our budget, then we are going to do it! Get our house listed as soon as we can and go for it.  We'll have to store our stuff for awhile, but DH plans to have the shop built first so we can get all our stuff in there as soon as possible. He'd like to find a trailer/camper to live in (with our dogs) while the building is going on and I'll stay over here at my mom's, with the parakeets. DD really wants her old cat, so there ya go. We can save some money that way, while paying interest only on the construction loan. If we ended deciding to rent something temporarily over there, it's very cheap to do so for just something to get by in.

Of course DH, who loves to draw things out, already has the plans already drawn up :)


  1. How exciting for y'all!
    That builder just cut off his own nose though pushing those other lots and lying about building costs. I'd never put a dollar into his pocket now just b/c of that if it was me. lol

    1. Exactly! Like DH said, he had always thought he was a really nice guy, but we aren't in a position to waste money, while making a millionaire richer LOL

  2. So very exciting! That is exactly where we want to be - buying land and building! I agree, don't use that guy, he will nickel and dime you to death.

    1. that's what my DH said too, he'll charge for things not necessary

  3. I have never tried to build anything but have had some lengthy experience with realtors while taking the five years to find our house! It sounds to me like this builder really really REALLY needs to sell those in-town lots for some reason and was trying anything and everything to discourage you from the lot you really wanted! I'm guessing he thought you would take his word for the prices he quoted and not try to look on your own. Great job following through and not giving up! Good luck! I hope this all works out! =)

    1. I think he must really need to sell, too, He's also trying to sell his main residence/ranch. Don't know many who will buy a 14 million dollar place. LOL. Everyone is so surprised at the prices he was throwing out.

  4. You know, this is one of my main issues for when we move in retirement. I want to be somewhere there is good internet....no, I NEED to be somewhere there is good internet! lol
    Like you, I don't want to be in town or in a too developed area. While we aren't looking out West for this retirement place, it's still an issue in small towns east of the Mississippi too. Places where you can get a home "deal" are usually the ones where internet is primitive(dial up, anyone?)as they don't have enough of a customer base to support the newest and best. I am hoping as folks younger than I move out of cities into the "wilds", there will be demand and cable/internet improves.

    1. Me, too :) I know I'm spoiled with the internet we have here in metropolitan area. It will be hard to step "back in time" a bit, but hopefully will be ok.