We had found some very cheap, distressed property. It just so happened, it was also flood prone property.
That’s sort of how it goes…if it’s cheap, there’s a reason. I suppose the idea of a flood now and again isn’t as bad as having a less-than-friendly ghost though. Don’t laugh too hard, we’ve all heard of a few cases where the ghostly going ons were bad enough to drive out the residents or worse. It’s not always a case of “Here’s Casper.”
In our case, as far as we were able to find out, it was merely floods and recession driving the prices down to rock bottom. Not that the lots themselves were spectacular or even perfect–who really wants to live where they have to pull out for every tropical storm and hurricane? Especially when you know that the area (and anything at ground level) is going to be underwater?
But…we have persevered. That’s what we have found. So…next step, is calling the seller and seeing how willing to deal they are. In our case, surprisingly, not very. They want cash, period. Not exactly easy when you are cash strapped to come up with a few thousand for that distressed property.
But still, we might figure out how to come up with the money. Next…is to find out if we can even do what we want to with that property. There isn’t any point to begging, borrowing, and selling everything we own to buy a piece of property that is nothing more than a white elephant we can’t use after all.
That turns out to be less-than-easy to find out. GM made the initial foray to the county planning office, but it turns out that it isn’t a case of aye or nay, but rather it requires a conversation with one specific man…who of course is not in the office on Fridays.
I want his job.
But back to the property, another phone call to the actual owner instead of his agent, and no wiggle room is found, plus we also discover that the trailer that a few weeks ago he was considering selling separately…he now does not want to separate from the property. I have absolutely zero interest in a flooded over 10 year old trailer house, especially since it has to be raised at least 7 feet above grade to meet county code. (Might be further, we’re waiting to talk to the one guy, you know!) It has sat there for almost 6 years since Katrina, moldering with broken windows and the former occupants’ possessions strewn throughout. There is an addition that has been badly attached, and that too would have to be torn down. The trailer would have to be stripped down to the frame and rebuilt, and would still be a trailer house sitting 7 feet in the air. I think it would be simpler, easier, and above all…cheaper, to simply start from scratch. At least then we’d have a custom house of a more appropriate size. (Trailer and addition has 4 bedrooms!) The owner believes the well and septic system are an asset, but I suspect that the information that I was given before that any residence that has been vacant over 6 months has to have a new septic system before being re-certified for occupancy. I’m not holding my breath on either the well OR the septic system at this point. So, as far as I am concerned, it’s a property that is overgrown and has a lot of large junk that we would have to arrange to have removed. It’s still attractive because of that low price and the tempting carrot of our own place. We want that so badly that I think it’s becoming an obsession.
I’ve considered a “city” lot and all of those amenities, but I have to admit…I would like to at least have a handful of chickens, even if I don’t have the pony for my granddaughter. GM swears we are not to have a goat, but I also would have liked a few goats, as they are much less bulky than a cow, but who’s to say we couldn’t get a “miniature cow” later on? (Yes, they DO exist!) Most of all, I want garden space and a work shop, and yes, a real kitchen! Oh, and a bigger bookshelf!
I look at tiny house plans, and I haven’t found THE plan either. When you consider putting your house 7-15 feet in the air to accommodate flooding and storm surges, it creates some problems not only of access but of aesthetics. It’s almost a tree house! At the same time, GM will be the builder, and while some wildly artistic ideas might look good on paper, they may not translate well as he works with hammer, saw, drills, and screws to assemble such an artistic endeavor. We might look more like the Crooked Little House the Crooked Little Man built…
And he’d swear a lot too, something I continually frown upon. He still does it. I find it startling, alarming, and aggravating because he goes into swearing fits over every little thing when he’s working on something. That’s not to say I don’t swear too, but it’s when things go horribly wrong…
I didn’t even swear when I spilled pickled beet juice this morning, but I have to admit…it was a close one there. Do you know how far 1/4 c. of pickled beet juice can spread in a travel trailer?
GM found a spot on the ceiling this afternoon.
After over a year of thinking in a very small space, it has become obvious…I am not destined for nomadic life on a permanent basis. It’s also equally obvious that being self sufficient is not possible on a nomadic basis unless you can give up things such as internet, air conditioning, and refrigerators. We have learned, however, that we can get by on very little, and still have some extras. That’s a good thing, and we’ve lost our attachment to many material items as well.
I’m much more interested, at this point in my life, in having a home and space to be self sufficient. Sure, I like taking off and being a nomad for brief periods of time, maybe even a month here and there, but basically…I am a homebody, not a nomad. I’m ready to put down roots, perhaps. I want to be involved in making my community a better place, and in living the way I have been advocating.
Doing it all with less.
We don’t need mega mansions and closets filled with clothes until they are overflowing. We don’t need china and crystal, vast jewelry cabinets, and 17 pairs of shoes. We really don’t need a family room, a media room, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, a mud room, a breakfast nook, a utility room, a laundry room and 4 bedrooms plus a garage and gazebo with a patio and a screened porch beside the sun room. We also don’t need two cars, a truck, a speed boat, and a motorcycle to get around. We really will survive without going out to dinner 3-4 times a week, and we won’t die if we don’t have meat at every meal either.
It’s about shifting priorities, and learning what matters…and what doesn’t.