Homestead buying? Here’s an example how not to do it.
A reader named Bruce recently asked me how we ended up at the farm. It’s a story that has elements of warning that I probably should share. So, here it is. Thanks, Bruce!
Early in our marriage, my husband Nicolae and I enjoyed conversations that included:
“Someday on the farm…”
So, the idea of living on a farm has been with us for close to 25 years. But I contribute the actual move to rural Oregon as my comeuppance for an overestimation of my strategic skills and a major underestimation of the meaning of those earlier conversations.
We had returned from Singapore and moved into a 7-acre property in Ashland. It was a beautiful place that overlooked Emigrant Lake. We enjoyed fixing it up, putting in a barn, planting trees, etc. I believed that this was the farm we had always talked about.
Two years passed and I was antsy; I wanted to take a nice romantic weekend before the weather turned cold. Week after week Nicolae said that he was too busy to schedule time away. I grew impatient as I felt my hope for a summer weekend slipping away.
It was time to apply additional measures:
I remembered having stumbled across a rural property on the Internet years earlier, but the remote location and the scope of the 150-acre property kept me silent. This property had everything on our checklist, but the scale was way beyond a hobby farm. I searched for it online and found it was still available.
Okay, I admit it; I used the real estate listing to lure Nicolae to take a romantic weekend. *Stupid, right? * I was alarmed that he agreed so readily, but I greedily longed for some R&R, so I plugged my ears to the warning bells.
I called a Eugene Heather Romito (Whom I highly recommend, btw), and we scheduled the business side of our weekend. At the time, I had felt a little sorry for Heather since I knew we would not be buying property. * Oh, the humor! *,
We arrived at her office at and went straight to the most remote property. The moment we arrived, Nicolae jumped out of the car and walked up the driveway. (I didn’t know it at the time, but, the owner, watched Nicolae expression as he approached. He said that he knew “right then and there” the house was sold.)
I did everything I could to avoid touring the antiquated home, but Pete was a sly old horse-trader and quite persuasive.
“Aren’t you going to look inside?” He asked, standing on shaking legs.
Pete placed a hand on my arm and directed me toward the door. My resolve melted with his smile. I stepped across the threshold into the 80-year-old house. The house was in a bad state of repair with exposed 2x4s and electrical wire. I was exhausted thinking of all the work ahead of whoever got suckered into buying the place.
As I entered the brown andkitchen, my knees gave way. I had to grab the sink to keep from falling.
“Oh no! We’re going to live here.”
I still don’t know if I spoke this thought out loud, but from that moment, I knew our fate. Later the sensation was confirmed when I actually heard the echo of children’s laughter as narrow doors squeaked open to reveal an upper floor.
Needless to say, I did not get the romantic weekend. We returned home, collected the kids, and returned to the farm the very next day. The girls swam at the river while I negotiated the sale with Pete. (He was a better horse-trader than am I.)
It was a shoot-from-the-hip type of deal. So, Bruce, if you are reading this, I wouldn’t recommend our method.
That fateful day was over six years ago, and my predictions were correct: The people who got suckered into buying the farm are exhausted.
The irony: Six years later, I have yet to go on that romantic weekend.