Buying a Farm
It’s been a very busy summer and I needed to focus on some #adulting tasks. That means I neglected this blog. I appreciate your patience and those of you who checked in with me in messages and on other platforms. More content soon. 🙂 For now, let me update you with the biggest news in my life.
Brad and I have long talked about the type of farm we hoped to own someday. This desire to work with the land and create a permaculture homesite is something that brought us together from the very beginning of our relationship. This Spring we found a listing for 8.8 acres 50 minutes away from where we live and work now. In May we put in an offer and started our roller coaster of a journey towards buying a farm.
Of course, neither of us had bought a property before. We made lots of mistakes and learned a lot along the way!
We got pre-approved by our credit union between our first and second visits to the property. Finding a lender for land zoned AG is challenging. We needed the AG zoning to be able to grow the types of crops and animals we hoped to. However, banks who do loans for AG land (since the property can create a profit) expect a larger piece of property and a business plan. Sometimes they will do loans for smaller tracts that are more for homesteading but the interest rates are almost double and often with penalties for paying early. Luckily, our local credit union, who we do our checking with, looked at the property and came up with a plan on how to make a loan for us work. It’s not as great of a loan as we’d have with a normal house in the city (and because the appraisal came back so poor on condition), but we are lucky we have a fantastic credit union.
After the financing hurdle was handled we had slew of offers on the property come in. First, our offer was countered, then it was revoked as we were formulating our response. We put in a new offer which the seller responded to with a multi-party counter offer. Southern Wisconsin’s hot sellers market meant that other people wanted the farm too! We eventually won the bidding war by caving on our concerns about the property line disputes and giving the seller till August 1st for closing. Yay!
Inspections were next. They came back as we expected for the most part. It’s a fixer upper with many issues because of delayed maintenance. The well was not up to code so we will have to replace that (ugh!) and the furnace is going bad and needs to be replaced. I so wish we had had a different realtor. Our realtor did nothing for this process except forward emails to the other party. We did all our own research, found and scheduled our own inspections, and attempted to negotiate all the issues. Having a incompetent realtor cost us at least $15,000. If we ever buy a place again, I’m going to grill our realtor before hiring someone. We just picked out the nicest realtor who worked in the area we were looking at.
Waiting until closing was one of the hardest parts. We couldn’t schedule or plan work on the renovations because we foolishly didn’t take measurements of the room when we toured the place. We’ve been dreaming of our farm for years both independently and jointly. It’s hard to know we are so close and yet so far from making it a reality. However, when closing did, finally, arrive everything went smoothly.
Last week we took off of work to enjoy the excitement of closing on our first place and get a jump start on renovations. Here’s a run down of how the projects went:
- Rip out old carpets – COMPLETE
- Prepare floors for Sanding and Refinishing – COMPLETE
- Sand floors – INCOMPLETE – Rented a sander but it didn’t work very well. Our finish is a tough one to remove!
- Demo bathroom – INCOMPLETE – Turns out the insulation in the attic is vermiculite, probably contaminated with asbestos. We can’t remove the closet wall until we deal with the insulation that has fallen into that wall.
- Tear Down Shed – INCOMPLETE – The electric for the well that is in the shed is attached to the walls. We can’t do the work on the well until the shed is removed but can’t tear down the shed until the well work is happening or we won’t have water at the house for a long time.
- Home Depot Shopping – I HOPE WE’RE DONE! lol I think we’ve already been to Home Depot four times.
While the week was a bit slower than I hoped it did give us time to enjoy the fireflies at night and listen to the birds in the morning. We explored the pastures and started identifying the different plants there. The stream on the east side of the property was still running which was lovely to discover. Our fruit trees have plums and pears just about to be ready for harvest. There are flowers in the garden and bee balm everywhere. I already wish we were spending all our time there. It’s going to be hard to leave this sanctuary we found.
I’m really looking forward to getting to know the Spirit of Place at this farm. It feels like it will be a beautiful place to raise a family and grow with. I’m so grateful for all the love and support Brad and I have had from friends and family as we make this possible. It’s going to be a process to restore the house and nuture the pastures, but it’s a process I’ve been longing for my whole life!