Saturday, December 29, 2012

Moving In

The movers unpacked the two trucks and stuffed a bunch of boxes and furniture into the house.

Boxes are plentiful because of the things stored in closets that will not have a corresponding home. My craft cave is gone so the stuff has gone to Catherine's bathroom storage. There is no closet under the stairs so not sure where that's all going. No closet in either of the boys' rooms but that was mostly just hats and some toys. No coat closet so we're having to improvise some hook sets and use hangers on the hooks for our good coats. Also have to figure out where to store everyone's winter hats and gloves and stuff. I suppose the unit I had in the closet to hold shoes could have a few baskets on top for holding the hats and gloves.

We took a trip into Farmville today to go to Lowes. Closest Lowes is 24 miles away - one way. :-) Farmville also has the closest WalMart and it's the home of a university so there's a bunch of cute shops and neat places to eat. We had lunch at a place called Macadas. It's a sandwich place - tons of yummy  sounding sandwiches and homemade potato chips.

Damages at Lowes after filling up two flatbed carts and a shopping cart AND ordering a dishwasher with delivery, installation, and a 4-year extended warranty...let's just say it was a lot.

Bonus when we checked the mailbox on Thursday night when we got here? Christmas cards and a refund check from the title agency for a little over $900! Yeah that covered a bunch today and the rest was already budgeted in savings.

I'm on my computer trying to back up my iphone 3GS so I can get all that crap on my new iphone 5. I couldn't get a 4 or 4S for some reason. Oh no...I know the reason. Apple is assholish and once they decide you need the next model, they discontinue the previous ones even when they worked better.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cardboard and more cardboard

Every day I try and pack up another section of the house that isn't being used. Today it was the craft cave! I haven't packed the wrapping paper but that's about the only thing left back there to pack!

Slowly but surely, every room in the house is being filled with cardboard boxes. Dining room? Everything is packed up but the fruit basket and some thanksgiving art that I'm going to throw away.
Living room? Packed but for some crafty stuff I'm still using. Family room? Packed but for the electronics. Kitchen? That'll be last but I have packed up a bunch of small appliances and tools that I'm not

The kids bedrooms will be packed up this weekend and Wednesday. There's not much to do other than throw clothes in boxes, throw stuffed animals in boxes and pull down some shelves/posters/art. I think I'll work on my bedroom tonight. There's still a bunch of stuff under the bed and the closet that needs to be dealt with.

I can't wait to be unpacked already! LOL

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We bought the farm!

We did it!

We've actually gone and done it.

We've bought a farmhouse over 231 years old!

We got to the office earlier than we thought - we always make sure to add time to travel because going anywhere around Washington DC takes twice as long as you expect it to. But an earlier arrival time meant we could start earlier - they didn't have any problems with letting us start signing all the paperwork.

As we worked our way through the pile of papers, we told the attorney and our realtor all the newest information we'd discovered regarding the property - the footstones, Thomas Jefferson mentioning by name and county the second owner of the house and his brother, the original owner and his either 10 or 15 children (conflicting accounts of how many kids per wife).

Our realtor, my husband Cam, and I all had a celebratory shot of the whiskey we brought down (complete with black to-go cups LOL). Everyone shook hands and congratulations were offered around. The financing representative from Farm Credit told us that they also do loans for farm equipment and buildings so make sure we keep her information (which I will). The attorney is a big history nut, and we'll need a lawyer and I will recommend my realtor to anyone looking for property down south of here. He was absolutely wonderful and found me the farm of my dreams!

I'll write more later; I'm going to go order my chicks.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Historic Information

I got some information from the realtor today about the house. Was very surprised and thrilled to get the information on the original owner.

The original owner was in the English Navy. He moved to Virginia with his first wife, and two sons; a third was born in the US. His first wife died when he was 68, and he remarried and had eight children with his second wife. I'm still doing the research, he fathered his last child at 86 or so! :-)

Found this website with tons of information about the Floods.

Also included in the packet of information was a little map of the cemetary. Apparently the one headstone there is one of ten or so - but there are eight markers in the ground that are covered with pasture grasses. The other headstone is a double and was for members of the Word family.

Closing is tomorrow. Of course, weird little things are cropping up. The paperwork didn't get to the title person until late this afternoon and we don't know how much we're supposed to be paying. Then, my realtor read through something and discovered that while the purchase agreement has the seller paying most of the closing costs, there's nothing he can find in the this will hopefully all work its way out in the morning because we'll have to leave the house as soon as we get James on the bus so we can make it to the office for the noon closing.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Walk-thru, wanderings, and wants...

Headed down to the farm on Friday. I needed to do the walk-thru to ensure the repairs were made. The ones I could check, I did. I should have gone under the house to turn on the water though…the water pressure remains a concern. However, as the other plumbing work was completed along with the electrical, I’m pretty confident it was dealt with. That and my realtor has asked for the receipts to prove the work was done.

Because we were supposed to have the closing on Friday, I had already planned on taking the day off from work. So instead, I had arranged to tour the primary school so that James would hopefully feel less uncomfortable about changing schools. Transitions are really hard for him. The sensory integration disorder syndrome (SIDS) that he has ends up making transitions, crowds, strangers, unknown and unfamiliar situations that much more difficult,  but he did very well at the school.  Everyone we met at Buckingham County Primary School was super nice and very friendly. They seemed really interested in our kids and our kids seem really interested in their school now as a result. 

The school is newly renovated – I think the principal said the building itself was still being finished (signs of on-going construction are evident as is the incomplete landscaping). I think James and Catherine are going to not only do well, but succeed and prosper. They have a kitchen lab to teach food science, art and music rooms, and about 1000 kids between the primary school (grades k-2) and the elementary school (grades 3-5) but then again, it’s a county-wide school and thankfully we’re only about five miles from either the primary or the middle school. They have self-contained classrooms (for kids like James) and an advanced “novel” program that Catherine would love!

The middle school is not as new, but it was constructed in 2003. They have separate wings for each grade (6, 7, and 8) as well as one for the electives. The nice thing about the middle school is that is has about 450 students. Currently, Andrew attends a combined MS/HS that has over 4,000 students - the main hallway is 1/4 mile long! I'm rather happy that he'll be attending a school that has numbers closer to what I grew up with in an environment that isn't so obsessive/compulsive advanced, IAB, or honors programs. Unfortunately we weren’t able to take a tour because I didn’t prearrange. I wasn’t too sure how long it was going to take at the elementary school and given James’ issue, it made more sense to make an appointment at the primary school.

I was pleased with the mix of all kinds/colors of kids; yeah, so not PC. But honestly, who doesn’t think about that when they are moving? I want my kids to know and learn about various types of people and lifestyles, not just about how the upper-middle class white people live.

The house was cleared of all the furniture. Someone bought the big ass tractor (that we couldn't afford and can't use anytime soon anyway) but they did leave the John Deere ride-on mower that we’ve agreed to purchase. They also left some of the paperwork regarding the heat pump and AC unit as well as the flooring. In addition, they left some plans they had done up regarding making some changes to the house. Not sure we'll be using those, however the first few pages contain the layout as it is, so that’s really neat to have.

The previous owners also left behind some old frames that they had hanging on the walls as art. They were left because the previous owners said they “came” with the house. I can’t wait to hang them where I want them – I have a few ideas to group some smaller framed photos within the frames.

They left a “Welcome Home” note which I thought was super nice and included the names of the nearest neighbors as well as a handyman with whom they had a hunt/yard work arrangement  deal. He does the yard work in exchange for being allowed to hunt on the 40 acres. I’m good with that as long as he doesn’t shoot my livestock and he teaches me to hunt!

Cameron and I wandered around on the land trying to find fence lines and I found some old rusty tractor attachments. I would love to turn them into yard art – I love the whimsical idea of that. I’m going to clear out the area of all the bushes around the house. In the area near the L-shaped porch, I’m going to pull out all the bushes and growth, put the painted tractor parts  (shiny fire-engine red) there, and grow a small herb garden in that area. We got to talking earlier today about how the farm should be – old fashioned, hippy, utilitarian? I want red barns – we’re going to be painting the existing barn and storage shed red  which screams FARM to me along with the big white house. But I want whimsy! I want to leave or at least re-purpose the art sculpture pieces in the yard that the previous owners left. I want to cut down the dead big trees near the house and carve the stumps into mushroom shaped stools, or small backed seats…and paint them wacky colors. I want to paint the chicken coop red but maybe paint the fenced run in all colors of the rainbow. I want the farm to be a happy, comfortable place not uptight and serious.

In our wanderings, we found a pile of discarded weathered wood boards and posts (must have been an old barn) that I plan on using to build the kids a tree house somewhere. Maybe down near the creek – I think that would be a great place to play.

Monday, December 10, 2012


The appraisal process has been the biggest pain in the ass I could ever not go through again. To begin with, the dude who was tasked with putting the appraisal together decided to take off the entire week of Thanksgiving and not TELL ANYONE so that was delayed at least a week.

Once it was completed, it was almost immediately rejected. The first time. It was sent back with six or seven things to correct. So that Thursday we thought it was Check on Monday.

Checked on Monday. MORE TO FIX! This time, the information should be back by Thursday; so ready to us by Friday.

Friday came and no...there were still things that were not good. The underwriter was working to make the appraisal work but still, no...not approved.

Today, Monday was the day... and what to my wondering ears do hear but the fact that it's still not officially approved BUT (this is a big but), it's been sent to the auditor's office. This is good only because the mortgage company clerk said that the paperwork is not usually sent to the auditor's office unless it's already been approved by the underwriter.

There are too many people who have control over my life at this moment in time and it's a bit disconcerting and more than a bit annoying.

Per the closing agreement, we were supposed to do the closing on Friday - THIS FRIDAY! But we don't know if the appraisal is official and even if it is, they (the mortgage company) say they need the sewer/well water report - and we don't have that.

But!!! The electrical and plumbing repairs were made this past week; the roofing repairs were delayed due to rain but should be dealt with this week. The old oil tank area was tested and there are no leaks and no environmental issues as a result of that.

I keep posting wish list items to my amazon list hoping this is all going to pass.  My wish list is here:

I've held off on registering the kids at their new school til we know (we were supposed to cut school last Friday to check out the schools and register) and now we'll have to pick another day. I want my kids to see what they are getting into before the holiday break. I want them to meet at least some (in the case of the 7th grader) of their teachers before they start on Jan 3.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Update on the inspection report

So we went over the inspection report (which was about 32 pages long) and winnowed out what was and wasn't an important fix. I picked the plumbing and electrical to concentrate on because those to me seem to scream professional help for health and safety reasons.

The sellers' contractor was at the house this past weekend and is confident that the repairs we requested can be made within the confines of the budget that the sellers have set. The amount isn't small by any stretch of the imagination - they set a cap of $3500. There is a problem with stating a specific amount however. What happens if the contractor gets in there, and the repairs are actually closer to $4500? What happens then? Well thankfully my realtor is totally on my side and wants the actual price of $3500 removed from the paperwork so that it just states repairs will be made. Period.

Meanwhile, I was looking at Lowes for a new dishwasher and then started looking at fencing material and options. Checking out cabinets to build an island at the Ikea website.

I knew when I started painting here that I was going to move....bad side? The colors I picked/purchased/painted on the walls for my living room, dining room, kitchen, front entryway, stairwell, and upstairs hallway are all from Home Depot. The closest "home improvement" store is a Lowes (and closest is relative - it's 25 miles away) and they don't carry the same paint brands/colors. So I'll have to do this all over again. At least now I know what I want as far as color families.

The kids more and more vacillate between being gung ho and being OH NO about moving. I keep trying to keep them engaged and moving forward. This week, I asked the 7-th grader what color he wanted to paint his room - choices were RED or BLUE? RED? No - mama struck down red as inappropriate for a bedroom. Any shade of blue is fine. Female second grader wants her room to be purple; that works actually since her en suite bathroom is already a pale purple. Male second grader wants his room to be LIME GREEN! LOL It's navy blue now; primer will be involved.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Been reading and reading and reading.
And with all the research I've been doing, I've learned one thing...

I will not be fully prepared. There will be problems along the way. I have many things that will need to be learned by doing.

And I'm good with that. As much as I've learned through books my entire life (when faced with the prospect of going to girl scout camp for horsemanship, I read every book I could on riding that I could get from the library. All for good because when faced with the hows of seating myself in the saddle, I did pretty well. Won a blue ribbon that year for the ring.

By in the long run, I learn best by doing.

Inspection report

So, after the inspection comes the winnowing through the report to figure out what is an actual repair versus an upgrade. What is important and probably expensive to what is easily done and could be handled by us. To what is truly important and what is not.

Plumbing and electrical are serious matters to me.

I can deal with a lot and to be honest, sections of the house are 231 years old. I'm not asking for the moon. I've done masonry work so the mortar missing in spaces, I can manage. The rotten boards at one of the four doors into the house, I can replace myself (we were thinking of putting a deck there anyway). We said they can not clean up the crap in the yard (think a few random windows, doors, and a bunch of crap in two of the three outbuildings) and I'll clean the gutters come spring when the leaves stop falling down. But an outlet that doesn't work? I don't know whether or not it's that outlet or an electrical issue. We were informed when we put in the offer that the dishwasher doesn't work; however, it wasn't plumbed correctly either and I don't want to have to pay that much extra when I put in a new dishwasher.

The ceiling fan? Sure - it's ugly but I'm not sure why it doesn't work - faulty wiring or broken fan? That needs to be checked. And so on and so on...

The house has a well and along with a well comes a water pump with settings. Currently, the water pressure in the house is not good. I'll have three kids with their clothes to wash, people who drink water, gardens eventually, and animals too. I need to know that the water is there...drilling a well is Xdollars per foot down. It can get pretty pricey.

It's about safety for my family. We've moving there full-time; this will be our forever house. The sellers have moved to Richmond. They are obviously interested in selling the place (why put it on the market otherwise) but they haven't live there full-time a while. I'm going to be living there for a LONG WHILE. And I want to make sure everything works.

We went through the list at the onset; to have them come back and ask if we would take credit for some items when they have the full report along with our checked list is annoying and rude. I didn't ask for anything ridiculous. The seller has two children with a third on the way; I would think they would see some things and think "Well, if we were buying, we'd want the same."

I don't want a credit. If they lowered the price of the house by $5K, it would make a $4 difference in my mortgage payment. Fixing things now is money now. Getting a "credit" is money, theoretically, in 30 years.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A variation on a saying...

I've been reading a lot....lots and lots about gardens, animal husbandry, shed/barn construction, products that a farm can sell via a farm stand. LOTS of reading.

As a result, I've signed up for many mailing lists. Recently, I got an e-mail from the Murray McMurray hatchery! It's a place to purchase all kinds of chickens, turkeys, and other assorted kinds of fowl. I'm so excited. The research that I've done has led me to Buff Orpingtons. From what I've read, they are large (6 to 8 pounds at maturity), good layers of brown eggs, and really mellow and good with people. So I was very happy to see that I can preorder the buff's and get them anytime from Jan to May.

But do I order my chickens before I get the farm? I feel like it's "don't count your chickens before they're hatched" only a variation.

From the web site: These are large, stately birds of quiet disposition. Easy to dress for the table they are white skinned, plump, and juicy, a beautiful eating bird. Their heavy, full plumage make them excellent winter layers, shelling out brown eggs right through cold weather. They also make excellent setters and mothers. These "Golden Beauties" have been one of our most popular varieties for years and years with their glistening plumage and pinkish white skin. Baby chicks are a soft light buff color.

I'll be ordering chicks. They are priced by each but you get a break at certain numbers. My number to start with is between 25 and 30 girls (so they'll be $2.76 each). I want layers. I don't want to have to worry about dealing with fertilized eggs right off. Eventually, I'll have to have some roosters if I want to breed my own meat and/or grow more layers; but for now, I'm sticking with the quieter girls. The property already has a fenced-off area that will work for chickens. I just need to build a coop; luckily there's a 10-unit nesting box lying near there that I will take full advantage of. A 10-unit nesting box can be used by up to 30 laying chickens. They like to snuggle up at times. And they also don't all lay at the same time.

As for pigs - I want guinea hogs - unless they are cost-prohibitive. They can be up to 220 pounds at the end of their growth cycle but I'm not sure what the meat yield would be. I'm thinking I'll start with two weaners (pigs that are young but weaned from their mama) the first time and just raise them on forage with kitchen scraps and good pig feed.

Goats will be nigerian pygmys to start. They are small so easy to deal with as far as fencing and housing and barn space. They are apparently super smart and are like dogs in that they are food-driven so Catherine will be able to teach them tricks. Also, even though they are small in size, they can produce up to quart a milk per day. I'll be getting at least three - we have their names picked out (they will be dairy goats so they can be named as they'll be living with us for as long as they live versus the pigs which will be named Bacon and Porkchop every year we get two). The goats will be named Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles.

The husband talked to his work yesterday and they are very supportive of helping to renovate the slave's quarters into a studio/office space so that, eventually, he'll be able to work from home! This is great because we figured he'd have to stay up in this area longer.The original plan was that he'd come to the farm on weekends and keep his job; I prefer this latest development.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our neighbors...

The name of the highway that we're located on is the East James Anderson Highway. The tombstone on the property is for the Anderson family and the back listed two men named James who are buried here. There are thirteen people listed between the front and the back. Latest person buried was 1954. First person died sometime in 1852.

More farm pics

Cute sign at the front. We're going to use Whispering Creek as the name for my husband's planned distillery. The farm is going to be Corny Goat Farm.
Back stairs - the armoire in the far left is covering over one of the four doors into the first floor.
Master bathroom. It was an addition that was added to the back of a parlor on the first floor. To access the bathroom, you open a door that used to lead to a closet (there are shelves on either side) to get into the bathroom. There's a big closet on the opposite wall from the bathtub. Which, I'm very happy to say, I can fit into! LOL But I'll have to install a shower ring cause I'm not taking a bath every day!

Inspection - pt 3

Andrew's room - it's 17'3" x 17'2". No closet so good for a boy.
Landing at the top of the front stairs...or was it the back stairs? I can't remember. I had to laugh at the kids because they went up one of the staircases and could only find two bedrooms. Turns out, Catherine's room has a door with access to either stairway, but the other two bedrooms do not. So when you went up one stair, you saw two bedrooms and if you went up the other stair, you saw two bedrooms. Andrew couldn't figure out which room to claim as his own!

I can fit four or five bookcases on this landing!

Front entrance. First set of stairs and behind that door is a full bathroom.

Inspection - Catherine's room

The three photos above are all of Catherine's bathroom. One half has the plumbing, the other half has built-in shelving and a little closet.


Inspection - pt 1

Had to be at the farm house today at 10:45am to meet the home inspector and my realtor. Managed to get some pictures and measure all the rooms.

View from the side of the house up the driveway to the highway. It's way back there - near the line of trees in the distance.

Side view of three kids chasing after the realtor to get into the house. It was 39 degrees this morning
Next shot down is another view of the house from the other end. There are six fireplaces in the house....and none of them are currently functionable. That's okay with me for now. We can get them lined one at a time and use them eventually. I'll be in this house until I'm carted off to the crematorium.

Front porch - it's an L shape.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Four more farms today

Was a very long day today. We left the house at around 8:15am and got home around 12 hours later. I put over 400 miles on the truck today going from one farm to another.

Farm one was in Louisa, VA. The house wasn't a traditional farm house but it was very pretty with a huge master suite that has a fireplace, and giant soaking tub in the bathroom. There was a beautiful front porch and an even NICER deck on the back of the house with access from the master bedroom.There were fenced pastures and a two-car garage, but only a chicken coop and a bunch of dog kennels. The people breed hounds - they were howling at us when we were walking around.

Second farm was a short sale and the house, while charming, was just too run down to even consider purchasing. There's a reason that there aren't many pictures available. I worry when I see 4 inches of standing water in a bathtub, rotten railings on the front porch, and it stank. I can't do stinky.

Third farm was my absolute favorite. The main part of the house was built in 1781. Yes, it's 231 years old. The property was just beautiful, rolling hills, giant old trees. There was a huge old walnut tree as well as some persimmon trees along the creek. Luckily, we ran into the caretaker who was in the middle of mowing the yard and he's been living in the area his whole life and as a child, he played on the property and in the woods. The woods are great hunting land with deer, wild turkey, and bear! Yes, a bear! He said there was one on the property just a few weeks ago that was about 350 pounds!

We're going to need a bigger gun.

I couldn't stop smiling the entire time we were checking out the house. There's a front stair and a back stair! There are beautiful floors, wood moldings, NEW windows (yeah). There was a brand new barn, large fenced pasture and the property, while being on a main road, had a very long driveway. There was also a former slave quarters! Really neat to have as far as interest. You can see it in the picture there off to the left of the big tree.

Last house was weirdly situated, down a dirt "road" behind a mechanic's place with a bunch of broken down cars lying around, and it's owned by the bank. It was originally listed at $395K but they've pushed UP the price to $425K which means that they probably owe that much and worse yet? While it was the biggest house at 4,222 square feet, it was in a state of disarray. Too much work needed to be done to even live in it and at the top of our price point, it's just not worth it. It was full of construction trash. The main house was connected to a garage that had an apartment above it however, you couldn't get to the basement of the house from WITHEN the house - you had to go outside, and go into a sliding door (that wouldn't shut properly).

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Wilsons Road Place

As much as I loved the house, and the land was good in that it had a good mix of pasture and woods. We put in an offer at less than the list price and asked for closing costs and waited.

When we did hear back, it wasn't good. Reverse mortgage...the bank would have to approve.

Last thing was there was a big doubt that the bank would take our offer and wouldn't pay closing costs. We already know we'd need to build fences and do something about adding a commercial kitchen and to find out that they wouldn't be able to accept our offer as it was, and we'd have to offer more which would put us at the top of our price range....well, it's a no go. We won't be pursuing that property.

West Virginia

More farm shopping this week. We ventured into West Virginia - it was only two hours west of us here near Washington DC so that's a good thing. Not too far from "civilization." But far enough away to feel rather in the middle of nowhere.

First house was in Lahmansville,WV. Absolutely beautiful farm house built in the 1860-1880s. Five bedrooms upstairs all with beautiful moldings,  hard wood floors in many bedrooms, fantastic turned handrail leading upstairs. Lots and lots of space - there was a 6th bedroom on the first floor that could be an office. The kitchen was recently upgraded and there was even a cellar to use for storage. It had two barns, an old outhouse, and a little storage building and was very close to major roads. It was only 20 acres with no wooded areas and a woefully undersized pond (according to my husband - I think it would have been made larger). This was my favorite house because it just screamed FARMHOUSE at me. But my husband did not like the land.

Second place was in Augusta WV. It was for-sale-by-owner on 87 acres. Only 15 acres were clear - the most was in woods. There was a HUGE pond with a little bridge/sitting area. The house itself was quirky - it was originally built around 1840 something and the central part was a log cabin. During the civil war, that log cabin was a muster location where the troops would go to get their salary. According to legend, a soldier was shot in the house on the stairs. And there's even a gravestone on the property - little girl was 11 when she died. The house was super tiny - cute, but super tiny. I smacked my head on the doorframe when I walked in. I couldn't live in a house where I had to cringe every time I walked into the super tiny kitchen. No land to build a kitchen on either AND it could have been a set on deliverance. The driveway was 1/2 mile long and THAT was OFF of an already long (3/10 mile) dirt/gravel road. Transportation would be monstrous at certain times of the year.

House three was also in Augusta, WV on 60 acres. There were no barns but there was an equipment shed, a three-car garage, and a really nasty looking dog kennel (they had a boarding business). The land had good clearance and wooded areas with a few ponds. The house also had a log cabin section which was turned into the master bedroom. Unfortunately, when they added the rest of the house on, they made it the same height so I felt like I was going to smash my  head on the beams, the bedrooms upstairs were super tiny and the three of them didn't have any closets. I don't think two of the rooms had enough space for twin sized beds even and one room didn't have a door. This was my husband's favorite. I really didn't like it at all.

Last house looked fantastic on paper but it was super creepy. They realtor said that the last owner put a lot of money into the place but other than painting the porch (which was nice in that it wrapped around three of the four sides)  and a new roof, it was hard to tell. The interior of the house was disgusting. The kitchen was god awful ugly with burnt wood cabinets (they were wood that looked like someone used a wood iron on to burn on the markings). Most of the rooms were panelled which just contributed to the dark and creepy vibe. It had beautiful land, a huge pond with a little dock, and good sized out-buildings but I couldn't live in that house.

So, we're back to looking...again. I don't think we're ever going to agree on a property. Why do I say this? Because we've been renting for eight years because we could never agree on a house to buy.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More shopping this weekend

I got a text from one of the realtors we met last weekend. She just listed a farm in WV and thought of me. Which I thought was nice considering I met her the one time...But while it was nice, it was almost $300K over my budget (OUCH). So thank you but no...

However, since she's listed a place in WV, that means that she's licensed to be a realtor in WV so I asked her to check on two properties for me - one in Augusta WV and the other in Lahmansville WV.

The Lahmansville property is really nice - beautiful ancient looking farmhouse built starting in the 1800s. Here's the listing information:
This beautiful 20 acre historical farmette displays the quality and charm of days gone by! Spacious 10-room two-story colonial home with 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, fireplace, 9' ceilings, hardwood and pine floors and original oak trim thru out. Addl amenities incl modern kitchen, formal din rm, new heat pump and city water. There's also a big barn and at least one stable.

The Augusta property has more outbuildings and more land. Here's some information about that:
Remarkable farm find 47 fenced, level, beautiful acres, 4 ponds, 48x48 12-stall barn, 8x20 tack room, 25x37 shop, garage, and gazebo comes with this 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom 2,800 sq ft home w/in-law quarters. Easy access of state maintained hard cap road and only 35 minutes to Winchester VA. Too much to list and really must see to appreciate

They both have their charms. I love the Lahmansville house; the Augusta listing doesn't show many pictures of the actual house.

What's even better is that while they are in West Virginia, they are actually closer to my husband's place of work than the one we put in an offer on in Wilsons, VA that ended up being a no-go

Speaking of Wilsons, heard from the realtor in that the information has gone to a short-sale expert. Not sure what that means...but hopefully it's a good thing.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Farm shopping...we're up to nine now I think

Looked at four farms today. Three scheduled and one bonus. While they all had something really interesting about them, they each fell short in one way or another. HOWEVER, I had found a place further west, in WV with a huge house, 20 acres, and all the out buildings we needed that my husband first dismissed as being too far and now upon second glance, has decided that we want to look there. In addition, we upped our upper price limit up a tiny bit and found a HUGE gorgeous newer (2000) house that looks like the quintessential organic farm house but with decent sized bedrooms, level floors, and no odd smells...

The good thing about all the farm shopping is that the more places we look at, the more we are able to realize what is really necessary and what is not acceptable.

Case in point: while three of the places we saw today were absolutely adorable as far as being the quaint farm house we wanted with some updates...everyone one of them fell short in one aspect or another.

First house. Adorable... Organic looking farm house (that's my definition of the basic colonial with additions that makes it look like it just grew and grew as was needed) with hidey-hole storage and nice front porch. Two ponds. However...the main stairway was kind of off-kilter leaning to the right. Loved the big front porch with the beadboard and the blue ceilings. Kitchen was newly remodeled with all new appliances. Dining room was overly large and I wouldn't have space for an work space since I have to keep my tech editor job. The closets in all the rooms were about the width of a hanger and had the old interesting but dirty wallpaper lining them. Attic access storage was via a hole cut out in a bathroom. Two bathrooms - both tiny. Basement storage was from the outside of the house. Did have new windows and a wonderful balcony off the master bedroom aread. Good storm cellar in case of of tornado; or root cellar. Good sized outbuildings but limited acreage in that it was about 13 acres.

Second place was oddly situated. We had to drive through a church parking lot (Disciples of Christ with an attached cemetary) to access the property. Layout was odd. While there were four bedrooms, one bedroom didn't have a closet. There was only one bathroom on the second level...and the "master bedroom" was rather not so masterly. The property was about 11 acres but was rather high in price for what you got. It did have a nice layout, hard wood floors, and fenced acreage, it ended up as the best choice for the day's looking.

House three was actually a bonus house. The realtor I contacted regarding house two brought along the information for something she thought we'd like. The house was really beautiful. It was built of stone with a stucco-like coating, but the walls were like a foot thick! The windows were newer. It had three bedrooms with two baths...and was all renovated. Had the house been on a lot that wasn't just 6.7 acres with a decaying barn it would have been a contender. The other negative was the sizes of the other rooms. The Master BR with the en suite bath with two-person sized tub was perfect for a family with no children as the other bedrooms were super tiny. The kitchen was amazing...but again...there was no land.

House four was just not acceptable. It was a nice sized...but it was so predictable in the layout that I was able to open a door and say "closet, bedroom or basement" and had no misses. The outbuilding consisted of one new barn/three-stall stable configuration and there were 16 acres of fenced pastures. But it had no soul and no shade for the critters come high summer. And that's the one that I thought smelled funny. And to be honest, the person who was a representative of the listing agent was an Eeyore kind of guy. But that place I didn't like within five minutes.

So that leaves us to looking at two properties within the next week. One under budget with a large house and good outbuildings but in WV OR a house equally as nice, large out building closer to the husband's work that's in Edinburg VA. The problem with that is the GPS and satellite imagery are having issues trying to find the land and showing the almost 26 acres.

The other place we really like is further west, in WV, but WAY less expensive at $349K with 20 acres and a beautiful old farmhouse with a main section built in 1800.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gigantic set-back

Can you say "I hate old people's caretakers" with me?

We put an offer down on the Wilson's Road property. It was a reasonable offer considering the property was on the market for over 18 months and nothing was going on.

So we offered 20K less than the list price and asked for closing costs and all the appliances in the house ( fridge, washer/dryer, generator, freezer, etc). We waited...

And waited.

And then we heard from our realtor (the "buyer's agent"). He was not happy. Apparently the owner of the farm, a 92-year old woman, took out a reverse mortgage on the property after she tried to sell her dead-husband's business for a profit and found out that one of her sons had managed to drive the business into the ground. Instead of a profit from selling the business, they had a negative. So it sounds like they took a reverse-mortgage out on the farm and then stupidly listed the farm for LESS THAN WHAT THE REVERSE MORTGAGE WAS? Who the FUCK does that?

You don't go house shopping and when you find the property you want to put an offer on say "Hey, I know you said it was only X amount but I want to offer you 50K more!" NO ONE DOES THAT!

What really happens is what we did - we found a property that was on the market for over 18 months and offered 20K less than list and asked for appliances and closing costs.

The other realtor came back and said not only could the seller NOT afford closing costs, but they couldn't afford to pay the realtors because they listed the property for less than the mortgage amount.

Major disappointment. I LOVE THAT HOUSE! It's perfect for what we need as it is with minor adjustments. Most other places need more significant renovations.

This sucks.

At least we're renting now and don't HAVE to vacant the premises in a set period of time. We can afford to wait...and save more cash for the things we'll need.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Farm Shopping

With any luck, the third time was the charm. I found a property in Hollister, NC that had two houses, a large barn, a small barn, a few small chicken coops around, a nice pond, and 80 acres. The neighborhood was sketchy; the nearest neighbor shared the driveway (which I didn't care for at all).

But the house had an environmental issue in that there was an oil leak that had gone undiscovered for a while and although it was cleaned up, the well wasn't redug. That could mean that oil could have leached or could be leaching into the water supply. The well water supplied the barns and therefore the animals with their drinking water. Can't stomach the idea of the milk being

Found the second place in Blackstone, VA. Beautiful ranch house built in 1993. Had a pole barn, a tobacco barn, an equipment shed, a smoke house, and a small outbuilding. There was a beautiful herb garden right outside the back patio and a nice sized greenhouse.

However, the 113 acres are in a conservation easement in that the area has been groomed to be more a wild-life sanctuary than a working farm. The easement wouldn't allow for additional buildings so that was a no

Found the third place, 46 acre "gentleman's farm" in Wilsons, VA. While the house looks like it's from the late 1800s, it was built in 1973 but with hardwood floors throughout, nice high ceilings (even in the basement which also was completely windowed on all four sides). This house is 4740 square feet, five bedrooms, four bathrooms, two kitchens (there's a summer kitchen in the basement), formal dining room, family room with fireplace, front parlor, and lots and lots of storage. There's a hay barn, a pole barn, and a two car garage along with a pond that's about two acres. There are 31 acres of woods (for hunting and clearing later if need be) as well as 15 acres in pasture.

I'm in love with this house. I'm already outfitting the front parlor with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to turn it into an office/library. I can use the summer kitchen for the cheesemaking and cocoa packing as well as canning when that time comes.

Waiting now to hear from the realtor.