In our contract on The Land, we have an option period. I don’t know if this is unique to Texas contracts, but for a certain price (ours was $150), the buyer gets a certain period of time (we asked for 10 days) wherein we can terminate the contract for any reason whatsoever. It’s a super nice feature of our contract. We can do whatever testing we want and visit the property as many times as we like in order to get the testing done. I mean, we can’t camp out there for a weekend, but we are allowed to take soil and water samples, dig some holes, test the fences, etc.
Here’s what’s important to us to test before we complete the option period.
Septic: This is hugely important. We are going to be far, far away from city services. The soil and land HAVE to be suitable for installing a septic system and leach field. Fortunately for us, The Land seems to have had people living on it in the recent past; there’s a disgusting old mobile home with water and electric nearby, and a 25×35′ concrete pad poured with water, electric, and some sort of septic system nearby. While we aren’t going to have a septic company come out and check the existing system for usability yet, we can be very confident that the land itself can handle our graywater and blackwater with the proper system installed.
Water: There is at least one well on the property; perhaps two. Andrew got water sample containers from North Texas Regional Laboratory. They do chemical and biological testing. There’s a very specific way to do all the testing and I’m sure he’s going to put up a YouTube vlog about it soon. He got the little jars, drove out to Paradise, got the water samples, put them on ice, and sped them back to Fort Worth all on the same day. And the testing came back clean! Yay! We have water!
Side note: I think our gasoline budget is about to skyrocket 😉
Soil: This is not going to be as important to complete in the first 10 days of the escrow period, but I am going to want to send some soil in to Texas A&M’s soil testing service in order to know how best to amend the soil. I already dug a hole and found that it’s quite a bit sandier than the incredibly dense clay soil we have in Arlington, so that’s going to be awfully nice.
Animals: There’s about 20-30 cows on The Land. Since we’re planning an agricultural operation, but aren’t familiar (like, at all) with raising big animals, we’d like to keep these particular low-maintenance cows on the land. We’ve learned that they belong to a friend of the current owner, so we will try to work out a deal with the owner of the cows to keep them on the land – and, more importantly, to keep the land under agricultural use exemption when it comes to property taxes. Eventually I’d like my own, similarly-sized herd, but moving an hour away and living in a trailer and all the change that will happen when plunging into country life is going to be enough to handle without also suddenly raising large, expensive (and tasty) animals!
That’s all I can think of for now. So far The Land is passing all its tests with flying colors. Really all we’re waiting on is our lender to finish their homework on us and on The Land. We were pre-approved before we hired our Realtor so we aren’t super worried.
And I have to give a huge kudos to my husband. Andrew is doing MOST of the legwork and traveling that we need to be doing right now. He’s in contact with the lender and our Realtor, he’s driving out there to do testing, and he’s on the phone a lot (which I HATE). I love him!