Monthly Archives: November 2012
Two acres, 8 miles from a good sized town, 5 miles from a smaller one. Flat, with a severely fire damaged house on it right now.
The next weeks will be interesting as I find out more about any septic repairs, arrange to have the house burned completely down or torn down for scrap, have the foundation examined and measured to see if my small house will fit on a part of it with minor adjustments, move the cabin to the land, and decide if I want to build or simply live in the cabin, at least for awhile. In the spring there will be lots of landscaping to do. There’s a tree to try to save as the current house is demolished. There’s some brush hogging to do, and new concrete to pour probably as well.
I looked in several areas, but the area I purchased the land in holds a couple attractions: I’ll be close to my aging parents, the land is reasonably priced, utilities are already on the site, it’s on blacktop near a major highway, and because the land will need clean up and landscaping, I can restore it to natural habitat rather than destroying habitat to build on virgin land.
The location isn’t perfect. I’ll keep watching for something closer to jobs. And watch more closely for jobs closer to this land. Still, having a home and land again is exciting.
Finding a place for a small house has been interesting. I’m looking over 300 miles from my current location, so that is part of the difficulty. The rules and restrictions have been laughable in some cases and frustrating in others. I found a county that is “unrestricted”… no planning and zoning office. I like that, and don’t like it at the same time. There are some pretty strange structures that should be condemned sitting around that county, for sale as “homes”. Yet I can build what I want and to me that means a lot. And I can build near family, which means even more.
This past weekend I looked at several lots for sale. Expensive, yes, but very worthwhile. What I’ve discovered is I may have an easier time if I purchase a lot with an old mobile home on it and then improve the property by building my small house and in a year or two removing the mobile home. Yet those lots are more expensive because the 30-40 year old mobile homes have similar prices to stick built houses.
On my way to look at one that slipped through my fingers though, I drove by something I didn’t expect… a house on two acres, for sale by owner. The house would have to be removed. The land is improved and ready to build on. Code free. The only requirement is septic and water, both of which are already on the land. Will I get it, or should I wait for something else? I’m not sure. But the thing is, I’ve found something that could work. And if there’s one lot like that, there are probably more.
The small house is paid for! Now I need a home for my home… a piece of land to put it on. That’s a frustrating endeavor. I bought plants this weekend for land I don’t own yet. I bought a small house and have nowhere to put it. Will the right piece of land come up for sale soon? I hope so.
At the same time, I’m very excited. I have a house again. I can’t work on it yet, can’t do anything with it, but it’s still mine. And someday soon I’ll have a lot to put it on.
Some of my family is excited too. I’m moving much closer to home. One family member is disturbed, though.
How does a small house owner deal with negative input from family? I told Dad last night that if he didn’t like my house, he didn’t have to visit it. And if he makes more comments about it I will reiterate that and remind him that it’s my house and my choice… he doesn’t have to like it and he doesn’t have to live in it. And no matter what he thinks of it, he needs not express those negative opinions to me.
In a few years, he’ll be more accepting I think. It will take him time. He’s too used to thinking big is best. He wanted a 2000 square foot house, bought one, and now can barely afford upkeep and utilities… or at least that’s the impression he’s given. He feels more comfortable with years’ of accumulated stuff. I feel more comfortable without it. And though in his mind status is equated with the show of a big house, land, and a nice car, my concept of status is quite different… or maybe not a focus at all. Friends, family, comfort, happiness, and simplicity have come to mean much more to me than status.
And so, though I am somewhat concerned that I’ll alienate Dad by moving into a small home, I am not sad for doing so. And I think over time he will accept my house, if for no other reason that it will be bringing me 5-6 hours closer to “home”.
The next step is finding a home for my home. Good lots are not cheap, nor are they easy to come by. But I have something going for me… I just found out that unincorporated areas of a county I’m interested in have no restrictions. Not even a planning and zoning office. Who should I call? The local fire departments, apparently.
If the realtor will talk to me about the lot with the trailer on it, and the well and septic check out and it hasn’t been used as a meth lab, I will probably buy that land. One of the others is in a 100 year flood plain that’s flooded twice in the last 20 years (yes, that’s sarcasm you’re hearing), and one doesn’t allow “temporary structures,” which this cabin could arguably be. The other appears to be free and clear, as long as those three things check out.
I got a call today. There is a cabin for sale to be moved: $5500! Now to find a place to move it and make sure I meet any codes. Two or three options sound promising: 1) .5 acres with a run down trailer on it (sewer and water already in place, some reuseable materials), 2) a no-restrictions parcel, 3) a “no junk yards, hogs, or mobile homes” tract. Not sure about #3 because I don’t know what they would currently count this structure as. It’s not a mobile home, but it’s a “temporary structure” as it is now.
The cabin needs water pipes run, it needs interior walls built in and a kitchen and bath area added. There isn’t room for a loft. But it is 320 sq ft and already has heat and air and electric run. I could live in it while I build what I want and then convert it to a garage, or I could live in it permanently with some adjustments. I think I would make the interior “walls” moveable so that I could easily move them to a new house if I decided to build. But the price is unbelieveable, and it includes the transportation cost to the new site. By the time I upgrade and do all the installations, I’m guessing I’ll have $35,000 in the house, foundation, and land… or more than that if I build a house and turn this into a garage. Land and foundations are expensive.
But… I just got my utility bill for October. For an old 600’sq house, my utilities last month were $21 for heat and electric, total. I haven’t missed the floor space, but I have missed the storage space somewhat. But this house wasn’t designed for any storage, and my cabin would be. Built in furniture with storage space underneath, shelves, and a better arrangement of floor space would all help immensely.