2016 February 09: Land sale fell through


At this point, it doesn’t look like we’ll get this one. The pickings are pretty slim, because we’re too picky: >1 acre, county schools, but still within 20 minutes of my job in town, <$24,000 with septic, or <$20,000 without septic, flat, non-flooded, and owner financing. A few of those requirements could budge, but not by much.

He was asking $28k, we offered $24k, he countered with $26k…..and then we got cold feet (and we don’t know why, but we are going to go with it): the payments would be about $242/month for 10 years at 6% interest.  We both want payments under $200, so the maximum price is about $19.5k. And it was at least 30 minutes from my job. And church. But it was so flat, I guess I talked her into it. Which was wrong of me.

I usually push for what I want. I was really angry at first when Julie went against this land- we’d made a good offer, the seller had actually negotiated, and was willing to do some owner financing at a really good interest rate, the property was nice and flat (something we have not ever seen in a property this size at this price).  I soon got over my anger because when I thought long and hard about my major financial decisions over my lifetime- I got the house I wanted in Utah, the cabin I wanted in Idaho, the car I wanted in Alabama. Some of those worked out in our favor (the cabin), but others didn’t (the house in Utah sold for the same price we paid for it 10 years later- even though we spent $20k remodeling it). And my ex hated the house, and Julie sort-of hates the car- not really “hates”, but it’s not what she would have picked. I thought it would be very reliable, and it has 200K miles on it, but I’ve replaced the head gasket twice, so it’s not that great.  It seems like I’m always getting what I want- and I push for it- often straining relationships along the way. But today I finally managed not to do that anymore- I want my relationship with my wife to be the thing I push for, not some dumb old beautiful flat piece of land that is nearly crazy perfect with geese and pine trees and…..sniff! Sometimes doing the right thing is hard for me.

Two years ago, I was the final candidate for a job in Rupert, Idaho, and we were looking for property. Julie felt like the land we were going to get had fruit trees and a creek, and mountains to the east of it.  I had practically been promised the job- I was the only candidate with long haul (fiber optic) experience, test & troubleshoot experience, IT and video experience for a job with a rural phone company. They flew me out to do a final face to face interview. At the very last minute, after they had basically closed the position to interviews – almost literally, some guy walked in off the street with just a little more IT experience, and he got the job, and the idea of fruit trees and a creek and mountains dried up.

Now, about a month ago- we had just found out that another property we were looking at for $23k was going to actually cost that much plus about $60k more to improve it to the point we could build on it. It was quite a spectacular answer to a prayer about whether we should buy it or not (the answer was NOT to buy it, of course!). Anyway, I’m driving back from that property about a month ago, and I hear/feel this voice telling me, “Don’t worry, I have a property ready for you with fruit trees and the creek and the mountains- the stuff Julie wanted.”  That’s been the measuring stick since that time- sort of.  We’ve looked at a lot of property that doesn’t have those features, and then when we found this really flat one that we just (most likely) lost today, we kind of ignored the details about the fruit trees, the creek and the mountains, because this property has none of the above. But Julie had a horrible night of worrying about paying for it, and how far away it was, and of course we prayed about it, and slept on it (well, we tried to sleep- I slept better than her, but not very well) before making a decision. But, she felt just as bad about it this morning as she did last night, so she asked me to cancel the appointment with the realtor. I still felt ok about it- not great, but ok. Actually, I didn’t feel positive or negative- until she said, “Did you hear the voice telling you it was the property we’re supposed to buy?”  I had to say no. And that was it.

The Realtor said he didn’t know how we found it- it was unlisted when we called him. But now it’s almost spring (although you can’t tell with the snow we got today), so he says he’s going to re-list it. “Well, good,” I thought, trying to look on the bright side, “That means other realtors are going to re-list their properties.” And then my next thought was, “…and the prices will all go up because it’s spring.”  It’s possible that we’ll be stuck in the house we’re in a year longer than we thought.  Which is scary- the economy is crashing, I’m hearing rumors of “negative interest rates” at banks, Bloomberg is pushing for the demonization of cash, while I sit on piles of cash (ok, not piles, but more than I’ve had for a long time). A lot of things are waiting for us to have a piece of land- can’t buy a chainsaw- where would I put the trees if I cut any? Or a tractor, or a sawmill, or tools, or anything else- it all depends on getting a piece of land.

Everything is now on hold until I go to the class in 4 days. I’m tired of looking for land at this point. I need a break. I’m just going to have to wait. If there’s property out there for us, I haven’t been able to find it on my own, so I’m thinking that it’s going to have to jump out and punch me in the face. I’m thinking when we do find the right one, the stars will align, we’ll love it, and it will be so perfect, we’ll wonder how we ever looked at anything else. And it will probably have fruit trees and a creek.

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Just a regular guy from Utah, now living in Alabama, involved in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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