Okay so I never thought I would be quoting The Rock, but this really spoke volumes for what the past few days have meant for me.
On Friday we extended the formal offer for the property and on Saturday we received an acceptance from the seller. But when that call came in, I felt nothing but nausea. No giddy, gleeful whooping and high-fiving, just my stomach churning.
Needless to say this wasn’t what I was expecting to feel, nor was it for my husband. When I have found out I got my house back in 2006, I was jumping for joy. This was nothing close to that, didn’t even crack a smile.
But we said we would sleep on it and see how things went. I signed the initial paperwork, and then waited to find out about the septic system since the seller had never done the perc test and we had listed that as a contingency of the purchase. I also held off on ordering the house plans until that came through as well, but did contact our builder and construction loan broker to let them know we were just about ready to kick off the process (I was going to buy that land with our home equity line of credit and then finance the difference with a construction loan, then pay both off with the proceeds from our home sale later in the spring). We went on to Pinterest and we went to some home stores to think more about decorating and flooring and all that jazz, and still that feeling of nausea did not subside. Not even close. I couldn’t sleep, and finally gave my real estate agent a call and opened up to her about the cold feet we were experiencing. She gave us some more food for thought both on the pros and cons and encouraged us to make our own lists of pros and cons as well. Because we had just received the property disclosure statement and had not yet wired the earnest money, we still had 5 days to change our minds, fortunately.
While aesthetically the property doesn’t look bad at first sight, there were a few things that were still niggling:
1) The price of this property is about a third of what something of this size normally sells for in the area. Ironically, a few months ago when I was looking at it I said I didn’t want it because it just seemed too good to be true compared to the prices out there for similar properties. Hell, we just looked at a 4 acre property in our ideal neighborhood a couple weeks prior where half of the acreage ended up being in a flood zone or on a steep hill…and this one with its flat spaces in rolling hills, even closer to town yet a good $30,000 cheaper? Well while everyone was trying to sell the property to me during the walk-through, I remember the surveyors mentioning that only about a half an acre on the property would be technically buildable because an entire acre was on BPA right of way (power lines) and a long section near the area we wanted to place the house had a sufficient amount of standing water where putting a septic drain field and a house might have some serious issues. If I buy 4 acres of land I want to be able to use 4 acres of land, know what I mean? This basically meant that a significant portion of the land would just be a view.
2) While the property backs up to State Forest land, the North property line backs up to what the surveyor affectionately referred to as “the County dump” because the neighbors had 10 foot stacks of junk piled up, and the East property line had County Road access issues along with a bunch of junky shacks and trash. While I believe in the adage that good fences make good neighbors, this was something that once you cleared away the brush to fully use that section of property, there would be that view because they or slightly more elevated. And if, like me, you’ve had the guy on the other side of your backyard fence be a massive hoarder for the past 12 years, you don’t want to wait it out and see if they’ll eventually leave, or be forced to plant trees and hope that they grow really really fast so that you don’t have to see them anymore.
3) Money. While we could definitely afford it, one of the primary reasons we were heading west was to be debt-free. And the more things we realized we have to do with this property beyond simply build the home, we realized there was a good chance we would get there and have the exact same amount of mortgage that we had today. And while this may have been fine 10 or 15 years ago, the fact that I am turning 44 in a couple of weeks makes the things I want to do in life much more important. We want to be able to travel… we are not looking to be farmers, just have some room to spread out after being on a standard 50’x100′ urban lot for so many years, and while there are some neighborhoods in the area that seem to have a nice sense of community, this little pocket did not give us that feeling. (I suppose it doesn’t help that the surveyor mentioned that one of the adjacent neighbors was an asshole…).
So it really came down to the fact that my great fear was that we would end up regretting the location and risk factors of the property. When something is too good to be true, it usually is, and along with that, I really feel like we were trying to make this property into something it isn’t. And honestly, when you buy a piece of property to build a house on, you want to be STOKED! The fact that I wasn’t was such a game changer and I had to listen to my heart, and withdraw the offer.
What are we going to do now? We’re going to keep looking. We are 1,000% committed to our two favorite areas of town, the ones that ALWAYS make us exhale, even if the property is not as large as our dreams want it to be. I would rather have two acres and a house to fix up, then four acres in an area that doesn’t fit me or would take away my #1 goal to being mortgage-free in 2018. I really feel like it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be without any kind of housing payment, and I would never forgive myself if I gave that up just to have something a little fancier or more customized, you know?
So there you go people, a story of going in one direction headfirst, only to realize sometimes you need to create a fork in that road to get where you gotta be… because it’s about that little voice, reminding you that it’s okay to do what you gotta do to be happiest.