Third time’s the charm?

Update to the last entry: The owner did choose our offer! When he returned the contract it left the mineral royalties in his family’s possession. We tried to negotiate that when he and his wife have passed away that the royalties would revert to us, but he was insistent that they remain in the family. Ok. That’s not a deal-breaker; I mean, it would have been nice, and it didn’t really hurt to ask. So our closing date is 6/22 and I’m praying so hard that this goes through!

In the meantime, our trailer is ready! I just spent an hour and a half on the phone insuring it. I hate the phone, btw! But it’s done! We are going to have it delivered next week to an RV park halfway between our current apartment and the property. Because the property is so very raw, it may take more than the two weeks we have between closing and the end of our apartment lease to get the septic installed and the well dug. So we might as well have the trailer delivered, get settled in it, and work on the land in a little less of a hurry.

Sometimes I just can’t even

We are still land-less, folks. This is getting frustrating. Last Friday (5/22) we were supposed to close on the Paradise property. On Tuesday we heard from our bank. The appraiser said the land was valued for $25,000 less than we offered. The bank would finance the lesser number, but not more. We asked the seller to come down. He wouldn’t budge a cent. So…we had to give up that land.

Then when looking at the next list of properties our realtor sent us, we realized that the property literally across the street was for sale. Across the street was one 84 acre plot, and one 47 acre plot that was mentioned in the listing as not on the market, but also available for sale. We went and saw them on Thursday. The owners were willing to split the 84 acres, which intrigued us, as 84 acres is too much for us. But the 47 acres was a good-looking piece of land. So we put an offer in on it Thursday evening. On Friday the seller’s realtor informed ours that the seller was out of town for Memorial Day weekend, and would get back to us on Tuesday. Well today they let us know that they got a second offer on Monday and are deciding between the two today. GAH! I just can’t even! What is going on here!?

Being Christians we believe that God has the best for us in mind, but also that Satan is our enemy and would like to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in the world. Thus I’ve been waffling between thinking that this property isn’t God’s best and that He’s keeping us from settling for something, and thinking that Satan is summoning some destructive forces against us to keep us from fulfilling our dream. I have no idea which is true. All I know is I’m waiting on tenterhooks to hear what happens with this acreage today.

Dealing with disappointment

We found a perfect piece of land. We loved it. My exact words were “I lovey dovey love it.” We put in an offer, and although the land had been on the market nearly two years, the sellers got another offer at the same time and accepted the other offer. That was quite an unpleasant surprise.

This whole thing relates to something I believe about marriage. You don’t marry your soulmate. I believe you marry someone who fits you pretty well, and then over years and decades of self-sacrificing love, you become each other’s soulmate. I think the same is true of whatever land becomes our farm. We have certain guidelines for the land we will purchase. But it won’t be perfect when we buy it. After years of hard labor, it will probably get better, and look a lot more like our dream land. It definitely won’t start off looking like that though.

So, off we go again to look at a few more properties!

Learning about money 

Our Ellie girl is 4 years old, and has never really shown interest in money. However, recently, she and her daddy were at Sam’s club, and she spotted something.   

 “DADDY! LET’S GET THAT CLUBHOUSE! I LOVE IT!”

Never one to miss an opportunity for teaching, Andrew offered her a deal. If she worked to earn money for the clubhouse, we would match it. The one they saw was only about $600, so if she earned a dollar a day, she’d have it in a year. 

Ever since then, we have been offering her opportunities to earn money by doing chores around the house. We never pressure her to do the work, but we always say that she can choose whether she wants to play, or do the chore and earn a money for her clubhouse. We have a big glass container for the cash, and Andrew taped a picture of the wooden play structure to the outside. Every time Ellie chooses to clean up, or help with the laundry, or volunteers to help with something, we reward her with some money. Then we talk about what the money is going to buy! It’s a fun way for us to help teach her many different lessons, like delayed gratification, working toward a goal, and the concept of intrinsic motivation.

 

Today they asked to help with the laundry, so they each got a nickel when all the laundry was in the dryer!

Plus, now when Andrew and I go to work, we can explain to Ellie that we are also working so that we can save up and buy things that we are excited about, like chickens or a tractor. Or a septic system. Maybe not as glamourous or fun as a clubhouse, but another step on the way to our dream!  

Full time trailer living

Welllll….remember how I said I didn’t want to live in a travel trailer?

We are going to live in a fifth wheel travel trailer. (and build the steel building too)

And now the Reasons! So, right now we live in an apartment. We moved here in September 2014 knowing it was temporary, so we signed a 10 month lease, figuring we would know better what our financial situation was by July 2015, and when we could buy land. Here we are in March and we know that we can afford payments on the kind of property we’d like to have, and we’re also reallllly close to having 20% down. However, we knew we couldn’t afford both the monthly payments on our new land and our current apartment. We needed a place to live while building the house, a place that wasn’t in an expensive area, was close to the land so Andrew could build the house, etc. Lots of requirements. Andrew brought up the idea of the travel trailer again, and this time I wasn’t so resistant to the idea. Mainly because we would be building the house during our trailer stay, and the trailer would not be permanent.

Where will the trailer live? Excellent question. Don’t know exactly. If we have our land by July, and if the land has electric and water, and if we can get a septic system installed quickly, we will put the trailer on the land. If the land isn’t ready when the trailer is done, we will probably live in a nearby RV park.

I’m glad we decided this now, because we are buying the trailer new and ordering it custom built, which takes 8-12 weeks. Not everything in the trailer will be customized, but we have some options. We are getting double pane windows, for instance, and a bigger refrigerator rather than an extra cupboard. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Want to see some pictures?

Above is the floor plan. Starting on the left, there is a full second bathroom with a tiny tub to wash small people. It has a door to the outside, which I think will be great for messy little girls who need to run in to use the toilet in the midst of their outdoor adventures. Then there is the girls’ room. It’s a bunkhouse. Ellie will have the bunk above the outdoor kitchen. On the opposite side, we will put a bed for Emily where the optional sofabed is pictured. Above that there is an additional bunk which we will turn into toy and clothing storage.

Then you have the kitchen/dining room/living area. We’ll get a table with four chairs and a love seat with storage underneath.

The master bath has a nice size shower, and we will get the king bed in the master bedroom. There are laundry hookups in the master closet. We already have a full size washer and dryer, so we will probably not be buying a smaller washer to fit the space; we have a couple different options we would like to pursue before buying an appliance we already have.

The kitchen, with the optional bigger refrigerator, which we will get. It’s tiny! But it’s awfully nice for a trailer! We won’t have a TV in the trailer at all; that space above the cupboards would be much better used as pantry space than for a TV. And we have plenty of mobile devices for whatever TV watching we will want to do out in the country. Which will probably not be much!

Living area. Our sofa will have the storage under as pictured here. There’s also that little bench for sitting and reading. We’ll get the same swirly design in the upholstery, but lighter leather.

Master bedroom! My favorite part, besides the king bed, is the little windows on either side of the bed.

Ellie’s side of the bunk room. We won’t have a TV there. You can see the wardrobe to the left; that’ll be nice to have for their clothing.

Here’s the full bunk room; Emily’s bed will be where the sofabed currently is, and above will be storage of toys. The door leads to the bathroom.

Lots of light! And it looks huge with the wide-angle lens!

Regarding paying for it: We will be financing this for 15 years, and paying a very small monthly payment on it. If we get to the end of our lease and need to live in an RV park, the cost of the loan plus the cost of the RV park is far less what we pay for the apartment. This option is really the best one all around. It’s going to be weird living in about 600 square feet, but it will be SO worth it to take the next step toward our dream!

Now I have four months to purge a whole LOT of our belongings!!!

The right time

For so long we’ve been dreaming about buying land and becoming country people. We are so close. So, so close.

Tonight I was pondering this whole process and it reminded me of wondering, when I was hugely pregnant and antsy to go into labor, when the right time was to leave the house and go to the birth center. It’s not a perfect analogy, but in both cases, you don’t know when it’s time to go until it’s time to go. Then you know. But you have to be ready to go for a good long time before it’s time to go, so that when it’s time to go you’re not caught unawares.

To that end, we are both finding ways every day to improve ourselves. My current category of Improve Thyself is in physical fitness. I’m a pretty strong person, but I can be stronger. And I like having visible muscles. Now my girls and I have weights we work out with (well, ok, the girls make the kettlebells race around the floor making zooming car noises). Ellie tells me that we are getting stronger so we can have a farm.

Oh I have to write this down. For the longest time, Andrew and I have talked and talked about our farm. We have made a game of mentioning something awesome, and then saying, “Can we have that on our farm?” When Andrew and I did it to each other, it was mostly to introduce the girls to the things we plan to have on our farm. Things like a playhouse for the girls, chickens, a tractor, cows, a big garden, etc. Ellie’s taken this to a new level. One day we were driving and went past a construction site. I heard the cutest little voice from the back seat. “Can we have a construction site at our farm??” And, well, the answer was yes! Of course! We will be building a house, so yes! Now when she thinks of fun things, she asks if we can have them on our farm. Some things I can think of are: a train, a school bus, a roller coaster, kitties, lots of dogs, and probably many more I can’t remember now. Ah, this is fun. I’m so glad the girls will grow up as country kids. What a full life it will be.

Bump in the road

A week ago we saw four houses and narrowed our search to the one. We thought we’d communicated well enough with our Realtor that we wanted her to put together an offer while we sent the wire transfer to pay off our house. We didn’t hear a thing from her all week so I emailed her this morning to remind her about the offer. When she called back it was with bad news. The house was already under contract and the option period (unique to Texas, I learned) expires tomorrow (Tuesday) at midnight.

That sure was disappointing news. While the house wasn’t perfect, the property definitely was, and we were looking forward to doing some renovations.

I happened to tell my mom, who happened to tell my dad, who then advised us to put in a backup offer. It completely hadn’t occurred to us to even try doing that. I called our Realtor and she called the listing agent. She found out that the current contract on the house was contingent on the buyer’s house selling, which gives us a competitive advantage in that we have no such contingency.

Now we are waiting on our Realtor to send us some comparable property information so that we can put the offer together. I hope she does so soon. I’m pretty anxious to get it sent in and see what happens.