It’s Official! We’ve Put in an Offer!

Our Forever Farm
Our Forever Farm

So it’s official! We submitted an offer on what could be our forever farm today! To say we’re excited is an understatement. The tax records say it was built in 1900, but I see no sign that there was ever a fireplace for heat, so I sincerely doubt that. I’m thinking 1930’s is more likely, however all of the electric has been updated (at least slightly – there are no glass insulators that we can see) within the last century, so we can really be sure. We’ll have to pay a visit to our local courthouse or library to get the real info on it.

The gentleman who owned it passed away 4 years ago and it moved on to his estate. (I spoke to the ghosts when I walk through, but didn’t get a response so I think we may be safe). Unfortunately, his family wants nothing to do with the property so an estate manager or judge has been in charge of selling it for the past 4 years.

I’ve watched as they have routinely dropped the price, however no one has been interested. The house is in tear-down condition, and the property only perks in 6 or 7 other places so it’s not a good investment for a development. (A developer had previously placed an offer on it, but backed out when they found out they could only put 6 or 7 houses on it).

The house also comes with 63 acres. It’s partially wooded, partially cleared. The wooded section has been logged in the past four years, presumably by the family, trying to recoup the costs of taxes.

We found out from our realtor that they would accept $45k LESS than what they are asking for it! So we jumped on the chance. In my opinion, the land on it alone is well worth it.

So onto the house:

What we do know:

  1. It’s on a well
  2. It’s on septic
  3. It has natural gas
  4. It has a crawl space
  5. The roof has been replaced relatively recently
  6. It needs a LOT of work!

That’s about it!

We spoke with our bank about using a renovation loan (203k) loan. We chose this option because no bank would finance a house in this bad shape. A 203k loan will let you finance the original purchase price of the property and any renovations and roll it all into a 30 year mortgage.

We chose a 203k for several options; the biggest being finances. A 203k loan only requires 5% down of the finished amount. A land only loan requires 20-50% down. We simply don’t have that much. Another major reason is that both of us work, and we have a 4 month old (who is currently teething and gnawing at my arm as I type this). That means any renovations we tried to do ourselves would take forever and force us to pay on two places at once.

Now for the tour!

Under the stairs
Under the stairs

As you walk in the front door, this closet under the stairs is the first thing you see, not directly in front of you, but slightly to the right. Funny story about the broom in the picture:

So when I first toured this home, I was probably 6 or 7 months pregnant. I grew up on a farm, but the realtor I worked with then was absolutely a city girl. When we first opened the front door, we heard a loud scurrying upstairs. Much louder than a mouse or squirrel. I grabbed the broom (pictured) and carefully walked up the stairs to flush out the culprit. I never did find him, but he left a large dropping on one of the make-shift cabinets. My realtor feared for her life.

Room on the right
Room on the right

To the right as you walk in the front door is this room. This room has a lot to tell us. The floor is obviously shot (termites? water? wood rot? who knows) but the drywall has been repaired. Where that darker drywall is on the left was a door to a full bath on the first floor that they closed off. To the right, behind the make-shift shelves is a newer breaker box. Not sure why it’s there, or where it was before. I’ll get a better picture of the breaker box soon.

Living Room
Living Room

Turning left of the front door, there’s the living room. Fairly small, but the floors are in decent shape. Not much needs to be done here, except adding a fireplace that hubby insists is on the “NEED” list.

Kitchen
Kitchen

From the living room, turning to your right is a small pony wall (not pictured) and this mess of a kitchen. A door that leads to nowhere, an interesting lighting fixture I’m calling ‘modern homeless’, no vent hood, and enough cobwebs to knit a sweater. Redeeming qualities: it’s HUGE, and it’s part of a bump out, so the kitchen sink faces out of a window that faces the back yard. Completely worth it.

Mudroom
Mudroom

From the kitchen we turn to the right and find this charming “mudroom”. There’s a hot water heater, but Lord knows if it’s still working. The plumbing for the washer and dryer are to the right of the water heater, and to the left there is plenty of room for shelving for a pantry and our deep freezer.

Downstairs Bathroom
Downstairs Bathroom

Through the ‘mudroom’ is a full bath. Surprisingly in not bad shape!

Upstairs Bathroom
Upstairs Bathroom

Once up the stairs, if you make an about-face you’ll see this second full bath. Again, not in bad shape, however shallow enough there’s barely any room between the edge of the toilet and the wall. Definitely not enough for my 6’2 husband.

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 1

Out of the bathroom you come into bedroom 1. It’s HUGE. The floors are in great shape, except under the pipe that’s randomly hanging out of the ceiling. Anyone care to guess at what that was? Because I’m lost. Maybe a heater with a pipe for exhaust?

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 1

Turning left from the shot above is homemade cabinets. Under the cabinets are ducting for the HVAC system (that doesn’t exist) and above it a hole to the ceiling with a wire hanging out of it. Again…anyone care to take a guess?

Scary Attic Door
Scary Attic Door

Between Bedroom 1 and Bedroom 2 is this horror-movie-esque door to the attic.

I didn’t get any shots of Bedroom 2 because there wasn’t anything note-worthy to photograph. It was also large but had no closet.

Bedroom 3
Bedroom 3

And finally, bedroom 3. To the right, just out of frame (I think I did that on purpose not to scare off my husband) is the large pile of scat. Again, it’s huge, and the floors are in great shape. We would just get rid of the homemade cabinets and put in a legit closet.

 

Outside
Outside

And now my favorite part of the farm: the outside. Directly behind the house is a few acres of cleared field, a creek more cleared field (pictured) and woods. This was taken back in January, so it’s very dead, and the field has been left to grow whatever it wants so it’s full of pricker bushes, but oh the possibilities!

We’re meeting with contractors next week to get bids on the work we need to have done before we move in, so I’ll be sure to take more and better pictures!

I hope you enjoyed our Forever Farm tour, now I’m off to call Chip and Joanna Gaines!

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Want to Beat the Stock Market? Invest in Lending Club

Beat the Market. Invest in Lending Club

Most homesteaders have the same beliefs on money; borrowing is bad, cash is king, and the less you need, the better. However, this mindset doesn’t always work in today’s modern world. To be truly self-sufficient, you need to have a large nest-egg to fall back on in case of emergency. But with the war on the middle-class, most US families are only one emergency (medical bill, natural disaster) away from bankruptcy. However, the traditional means of buying stocks as investment may have run its course.

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Easy Crockpot Applesauce For Canning

Easy Crockpot Applesauce For Canning
Easy Crockpot Applesauce For Canning

This easy, two-part recipe is one of my favorites for Fall. Apples are incredibly abundant in the Fall and can be collected at a Pick-Your-Own, a local farmer’s market, or, if you’re lucky, your own backyard tree.

You can make your applesauce following the same recipe in a saucepan on the stove if you’re short on time, but by using the crockpot, you buy yourself some time and get the dual advantage of your entire house smelling so perfectly like Fall.

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Make Dandelion Wine at Home

Make Dandelion Wine At Home
Make Dandelion Wine At Home

While it might be fall, the dandelion wine I made in the spring is now mature enough to drink. It’s a tradition in my family, as the first frost is creeping in, and the leaves are falling, and we’re bracing ourselves for a long, cold winter, to break out our dandelion wine and enjoy a glass in front of the fire. It’s a lovely way to remind us of the hot, humid summer days, and to officially close the summer season. I love this wine. I love that it’s homemade, it’s painfully simple, and doesn’t require a lot of wine-making know-how or even special equipment. With what you can pick from your front lawn, and equipment you already have around the kitchen, you can make your own old-school dandelion wine.

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Homemade Dry Italian Seasoning

Homemade Dry Italian Seasoning
Homemade Dry Italian Seasoning

My goal in my family is to replace one pre-packaged, processed thing at a time. While some things seem beyond my reach (ie. a delicious every day bread loaf), some things are beyond easy to replace. Those packages of Italian Seasoning are convenient, and easy, and cheap, but can be made within minutes at home.

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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade Vanilla Extract

The number one rule for Homesteading is: “Make Do or Do Without.” Last week found me in another situation of running out of something, and looking up how to make it myself. Vanilla Extract is a staple in my household. I jumped at the opportunity to make my own instead of running to the store to spend money on something artificial.

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Finance 101 For the Homesteader

Finance 101 For the Homesteader
Finance 101 For the Homesteader

Personal finance seems to be one of those hush-hush topics no one’s supposed to talk about. We aren’t taught it in school, your parents may have talked to you about it, but generally it’s a social no-no to bring up.

As homesteaders, we have a unique set of challenges, due to the lifestyle we want/chose. Homesteading and personal finance go hand-in-hand. Oftentimes, it’s due to financial hardships that people want to live life more simply, economically, and homesteader-friendly.

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Gardening 101

Gardening 101
Gardening 101

There are several basic truths when it comes to gardening, regardless of location or plant you’re trying to grow. This is the perfect intro to beginner gardeners, those that claim to have a ‘black thumb’ instead of a green one, or the new homesteader.

Plants need 3 things:

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Make Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs out of Stale Bread

Italian Breadcrumbs
Italian Breadcrumbs
I don’t believe in throwing anything away if I can avoid it. I’m sure most homesteaders (or anyone who has ever had to watch their pennies) would agree. My favorite saying around the house is “waste not – want not.” There’s another use for just about every kitchen scrap, and I love putting them all to good use!

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