Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Perfect, Good Enough Property

As I noted in a post almost a year ago (The Challenge Begins) finding your perfect property for a homestead can be difficult. Since that post, my Mom and I have seriously considered (up to making offers on a few) four or five properties, some with a house, some without. All of them presented some compromise with which we thought we could live. For many different reasons, none of them resulted in a final deal with us owning a new homestead property. Until now.

This past weekend we found a property that meets all our needs and is in our price range. We have negotiated a price with the seller and are under contract. We could be moved in by the end of the year. Looking back we are grateful that all of those other deals failed to materialize. We could have made a homestead work in each case, but some would have been more difficult than others, some required building a house on an empty property and some meet less of our criteria than others, leaving us more dependent on municipal services than we would have liked.

Water is always at the top of our list when we look at a prospective homestead and this one has it in spades. Not only are there two seasonal streams running through this property, it has two independent wells. Even though it has been more than six weeks since the summer monsoons have ended, there was water trickling out of seams in the rock feeding one stream and a wet, marshy area at the end of the other. The house is situated on a rocky outcrop between the two and out of the flood plain.

The house is a long ranch built on an east/west axis so it has a large southern exposure. In addition, the ground slopes down into one of the streams to the south creating a large southern exposure hillside which is already terraced with several gardens. The property is heavily wooded, especially along both stream beds, however, there is plenty of open, sunlit expanses along this southerly exposed hillside. This should be a good location for an orchard and gardens for sun and heat loving plants (like tomatoes and peppers).

Built on a rocky outcrop between two deep ravines, we were initially concerned that the soil around the house would not be adequate for our purposes. Our fears were unfounded after we realized that the surrounding trees have been dropping compost for years and the previous owners have amended the soil in the terraced gardens as needed. In addition, the swampy area at the end of one stream has more than enough black, organic soil to meet our needs as long as we are willing to haul it up the hill.

One of the things we love most about the property is that while it is only about a mile from a developed section of town (Wal-Mart and local grocery store among other conveniences) it feels isolated and out in the country when you are sitting on the patio surrounded by the many trees. In fact, it is not possible to see any of the neighboring houses except when you are entering or leaving the property via the driveway. In short, we have found our little piece of paradise.

The lesson learned is that although we got lucky not to have been stuck with one of those other properties, we should have been more patient, discounting each one because it required one or more compromise that we should not have been willing to make. We are very fortunate to have found a property that meets all our needs, but no matter what your needs or criteria are, the right property for you is out there if you are patient enough to wait for it to be revealed to you.