Sunday, December 26, 2010

Buying Land - Part II


The smart thing to do is to rent a place in the area where you plan to buy land, and live there while you look.  We were 'way too impatient for that. In October, 1990, we drove up to the Cariboo and started looking for our future home.  A fairly helpful real estate agent steered us away from the worst gardening areas--the high, cold spots--and sent us out with directions to several places.  One was on a north slope.  One was near a noisy top-soil business.  Another was a 45-minute drive from the nearest settlement, but we could still hear traffic.

On our third day looking, we drove out a logging road to see a few properties.  There were no houses along most of it and it seemed cold and desolate.  Then we turned onto a smaller road and the whole atmosphere changed to warm and friendly.  There were small ranches with horses and cattle grazing, a little creek running through the valley, and old log barns beside the road.  When we stopped to look at a lot, a man came out to talk to us from a nearby house.  He invited us in, gave us coffee, and told us about the neighbourhood.  We didn't like that property, but the next one on our list was in the same subdivision.

We nearly drove right by our future home.  It was a mess.  The current owner had done a "log-and-flog", where you buy a property, take all the timber off it, and put it back on the market.  This guy had done a particularly poor job of the logging and left it looking terrible.  However, I decided that it was worth a closer look.  It was flat, with good exposure and lush grrowth.

The neighbours were obviously friendly.  We ended up having dinner with the couple owning the lot next to "ours", then camping on their land for the night.  From them, we found out about the water wells on nearby lots, and took a sample from theirs.  We also took soil samples from "our" property,  In the morning, we drove into town and put in an offer.  We bargained hard, using as bargaining chips the state of the place and the fact that the owner had already made his money back from the timber he'd taken off it.  (Public records at the Forestry office)  We were lucky: the real estate market was at its lowest point in a long time.  We paid $9,000 for 10 acres.

Marion's Rules for Buying Land
  1. Make sure it has good water.
  2. Know how to read a survey plan and do so.
  3. Talk to the neighbours.
  4. Check the exposure; will it get enough sun?
  5. Make sure it has good water.
  6. Don't let trivialities distract you from a proper evaluation.
  7. Don't buy if you have to go across someone else's land to get to yours.
  8. Make sure it has good water.

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