OK, I'll demystify the mystery of some of the recent happenings. They have everything to do with timing and possibility. Some of it could happen, or all, or none. It's exciting, nonetheless!
We may have a chance to acquire a 3 acre property with existing house only a mile from here, yet in the agricultural-zoned section. It's not as much land as we might find hours and hours away, but we may not at this time be positioned circumstantially to relocate hours and hours away, due to my daughter's college and housing plans and our job limbo.
This is truly a long-shot, and I may elaborate on some of the really wonderful details related to how it opened up and brought us to this point, but for brevity, and till we see how it all is resolved, I'll just keep this shorter.
The house is somewhat of a fixer-upper, but seems (at this point of inspection) to have "good bones." IF this works out to be a viable possibility to acquire (I keep saying IF and holding my breath!), here are some of the pros and cons:
Cons first :)
1. It's much too close to the road. I'm not sure why the original owners did this, but if you have a property that size, you'd think you'd situate things aesthetically where you'd have either privacy or a bang-up view of your property.
2. It's not my ultimate taste in style. But that rates lower as a factor than many other factors.
3. The interior has been updated, but, again, not-so-tastefully or skillfully. But certainly not awfully. Again, this ranks much lower on my list of determining factors.
4. It would require some repairs and a lot of customization to be useful for our intentions.
5. I am leary of the unknowns of an older home. Though many things have been replaced over the years, there's still always the unknown. Which, as we all know, usually happen just after closing day :)
6. The house is not on built-up land. My husband has built homes in the past on lots he added a lot of fill to in order to be considerably higher than the lowest points of the properties, in case of heavy rains or flooding. This is, after all, Florida.
7. Creepy crawlies and varmints indoors. Exterminator is a must. Nuff said.
OK, now the Pros
1. The house has a very workable floor plan and an amazingly wonderful kitchen design. (That's about all that can be said as a compliment about the kitchen. The cabinets are atrocious, but that's addressable.) The bedrooms are well-situated, large, plenty of light, and the bathrooms are surprisingly pleasant. The MBR walk-in closet is seriously as large as a small bedroom. My husband was happy about that. He has a thing for having plenty of closet space.
2. After the initial inspection by my husband, who is darned good at so many mechanical and construction-related things, he didn't seem to think there was any issue with the electric and other systems to warrant immediately dismissing this house as a possibility. The roof is in great condition. If this looks like it might happen for real, J will go all through the house and attic with a fine-toothed comb and get down to the nitty gritty of what we'd be looking at and if it would be worth tackling, or if it would be a money trap. We'll avoid the latter, no matter how attached we are to the property otherwise.
3. Half the property is an already functional pasture. There is quite a bit of existing fencing on the property. The other half of the property is virgin Florida woodland...beautiful and quite wild. The immediate back of the house is fenced in, which would do well if we began with that and then transitioned a step at a time to tackling the projects that would best utilize the space and land.
4. It's an attractive property and easy to access.
5. It's bordered by large properties that won't be subdivided and that are well-managed.
6. It is rural, though it's only a mile from the section of town that has become zoned residential. It is already zoned agricultural, and all the surrounding properties are, too.
7. The road dead ends onto an adjoining road that borders (for miles) an extended Natural Preserve. Nothing will EVER be built there, and it's separated by a very large ditch (er, man-made creek?) the whole length of that boundary road, with a large grassy swath between ditch and road. On the other side of the creek/ditch is the Preserve, and it's stunning. The ditch is stunning, too. It's overflowing with wildlife, as are the woods on all those agricultural properties. I love to drive there to relax, as there's no traffic and it's secluded and goes for miles. The ditch is always full of water, so it's really more of a creek, and the far bank slopes upward to higher ground. Simply driving along there and taking in its beauty, on any given day you can see hawks, eagles, clusters of turtles sunning themselves on the far banks, alligators (also on the far bank), deer, wild turkeys, great egrets, snowy egrets, whole flocks of ibis, an occasional pair of sandhill cranes, great blue herons, little blue herons, night herons, or wild boar. There are panthers and bobcats that live there, but I've only seen the bobcats so far, and for now that's fine by me :) Anyway, with THAT only a quarter mile down the road, WHO could complain?
8. We could immediately put a couple heads of livestock on the property.
9. We could have, on a small scale, nearly any animal we wanted. We'd prefer a combination of small livestock with multiple uses.
10. We could raised-bed garden and do anything horticulturally that we wanted to our heart's content...big enough to have plenty and intensive farm, small enough to hopefully be manageable for two eager amateurs.
11. This is not a development, so there are no restrictions or subdivisions or covenants. We could have a chicken tractor without the neighbors reporting us to the Chicken Police. We could put a shed anywhere we wanted to without someone else's permission. We could paint our house fuschia with big polka dots, (we won't! lol), and no one could do anything about it except egg our mailbox as they drive by.
12. I could decorate and we could renovate the house to reflect our personal needs and tastes without worrying about keeping everything in beige neutrals for selling to somebody else "someday." Hopefully there will be no more moves. We want to nest...and tackle so many projects. "Some day" would be "now" instead of "later." Boy, would THAT be nice!
13. It would financially be REALLY GOOD for us tax-wise.
14. The property would never decline in value. There is no more land left in this area. It's one of the few remaining acreages. And it's secluded in the middle of larger surrounding acreages.
15. It has not been slash-cleared. The ORIGINAL topsoil, etc., is right there. Any clearing we'd do would be extremely minimal and only for the purpose of having just enough room to maintain the fencing around the boundary. Just as importantly, the surrounding properties in the area have not been slash-cleared either...it's virgin original woodlands, not replanted trees. Trees here, unless original, don't usually get very big, except maybe for some pines and cypress. Hardwoods are even rarer, and the mass development of Florida has rendered entire areas just flat and flatter and devoid of original vegetation. Don't even get me started, but seeing original trees with spanish moss, and whole thick stands of palmetto and laurel oak really is refreshing. The woods are THICK all in that area, for miles. Rare, rare, rare!
16. I've always hoped for a property with both pasture and woods. The sorts of animals we'd like to have would benefit by both and would benefit both.
17. We could begin so many things we've been waiting on, and be that much closer to some of our goals that would immediately impact our health and finances. We really want to replace our store-bought foods with homegrown ones. We need healthwise the benefits of the work and the better choice of organic foods. It would be economical to grow these and invest our time that way. I can have livestock that is not allowed where we now live.
18. It would be easy to transition from where we are now to that location, since it is nearby. No moving expenses besides maybe a truck for half a day.
19. Less disruptive move than elsewhere. Same distance to jobs and school, and accessibility to in-town thingies when needed.
20. We wouldnt have to move again. That, plus the permanence factor of not having to "wait" for some indeterminate future for this or that would relieve a HUGE amount of stress.
21. All this could be done in such a way as to be debt-free. We'd pay for any improvements out of pocket. THERE WOULD BE NO MORTGAGE. That is HUGE in our book!!
We're doing the legwork, remaining open to other opportunities, and trying to stay on course with our efforts such as erasing debt. The long and short of this is that we've done what we can to this point, and the decision is out of our hands till the next step, if there is a next step. That's a HUGE "if." We're very much in prayer about this. We believe that God will keep us on the right path, and it's up to Him if this is a part of that. If this doesnt work out, we'll know there's a really good reason, and keep on trucking. :)
It's exciting to have possibilities! Shall keep the updates coming, as they unfold...