Monday, December 31, 2012

(Dec 31) They actually found her

Well, things are turning up. They actually tracked down the woman who had a lien on the property and she signed a new release. The title company called and they have it and a signed contract in hand. We are ready to proceed to financing. I will sleep better tonight! :) Thanks for the late Christmas present and Happy New Year to everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

(Dec 28) Extended contract

We signed a new contract today to extend the proposed close date to Jan 10. I guess the seller decided he didn't want to start all over again with someone new. Besides, this latest problem was his own doing. If he had filed the papers with the courts as he was supposed to . . .  anyway, we have a couple of weeks now to track down the lien holder and finish up.

Monday, December 24, 2012

(Dec 24) A rock in the road

:( Title company found a lien on the property today. Seems it's one thing after another. The owner says he has a copy of the release of lien somewhere but he can't find it. They never filed the release with the courts. The title company has to have a original of the release. Otherwise, they will have to track down the lien holder and have them sign another release, if they will! 7 years later, no telling where the person lives or whether they will feel like doing the owner a favor. Turns out when he sold the 4 acres piece, the title company doing the work on that sale never found the lien or all of this would have been resolved years ago.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

(Dec 13) Hot! Get 'em while they're hot!

Well, the seller did not take the news of the delay as well as we did. He flamed out and told his realtor that he would be canceling the contract if we don't close by the 31st. Something about not wanting to get slammed with additional potential taxes after Jan 1. Please! This only effects those that are making a living off of investment profits. Besides, it's all speculation on what they're going to do with new tax laws anyhow. We'll just have to wait and see. I hope the title company can get it all together in the next couple of weeks. It will absolutely break my heart if we lose this property. I can't imagine another year or two on the road again, looking, comparing new properties to this and being disappointed. We're going to keep our fingers crossed!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

(Dec 12) Our first major bump in the road

Our realtor called today. The title company informs her that they are not going to be finished with the title work until after Christmas! We will have to reset the close date to Dec 31st. I can't tell you how disappointed I am that I won't be out here on Christmas day! I have the last 10 days of the year scheduled for vacation. Was really planning on getting some work done clearing a driveway back to the bridge. Oh well! We won't even look back once we're here on the land. It will just be a memory.

I'm not about to stick my hand in there to see what's been napping all winter. Think we'll leave this one alone for a while!

Monday, December 10, 2012

(Dec 10) Planning our 1st structure

Thinking things through, we both agree that the first thing we need to build out there is a deck. Something to make as a base camp. Something to get the tent up off of the ground when it rains. Kim finds some plans we like online for a 12'x12'. This should be plenty big for a descent round table and 6 chairs. Did I mention we'll save a little room on the edge for a cooler of beer! I work up a supply list along with a plan to string DC Christmas lights from the surrounding trees. A Deep Cell battery should power the lights for some time. We'll just take the battery with us and let it charge in the truck on the round trip home and back for a while 'til I can figure out where I want a solar panel mounted to charge it. Kim researches and finds a deck sealant she likes and starts putting together a budget for the wood. Not too bad, about $450 if I can't find any wood to recycle. I'll start hitting Craig's List for a source.

Moss growing along the banks of the creek. I've always had a fascination with moss. I can't get enough of it!

Friday, December 7, 2012

(Dec 7) Planning ahead

Please remember all of the veterans out there on Pearl Harbor Day! 

I called several water well drilling companies. They all gave me the same story - No Aquafer! Can't drill a well in this area. Seems strange that less than a mile from the 4th largest lake in Texas, you can't get water out of the ground. Oh well. Plan B. I call the water company. Confirmed they have a water line running along the property to the neighbor's house so no extra expense to bring in the main. They do want $1,250 to tap in a new meter. Actually much cheaper than I expected. They quoted us $4,500 for a new meter at our property at Lake Whitney years ago. Guess why we never did that one! We'll put this in the budget and start working on it. Need to get the title in hand first! (I did tell you patience is not one of my virtues! lol)

I went to the court house to look for a survey. I found what I thought they were looking for. Documents describing the original 350+ acre farm, the 16 acres that was cut out when originally sub-divided, the 4 acres sold off of that in the last transaction. Surely this would do. I called the title company and they tell me "NO"! They want the actual drawings from a surveyor, not just the legal description. They tell me the bank won't finance without a proper survey. I step around again and call the bank officer directly. He says they are fine with a good legal description as long as I'm satisfied that I'm getting what I think I'm getting. Get it? I sit down with a straight edge and a compass for a while and draw it all out, every detail in the legal descriptions. Then apply a bit of HS math that I haven't used in 30 years and come up with exactly 12 acres and one headache. I send all of this to the title company as well as the bank and everyone now says they're happy and moving forward. Amazing. Sometimes if you accept the way  people do their jobs, things never get done or they cost you a fortune. A sigh of relief that we saved the $800+ and are back on schedule. We should make our deadline of Christmas. Can't wait to roast some marshmallows on an open campfire!

Bridge over the creek. I think we could drive a tank over this thing. Very heavy duty!

(Dec 7) Scramble Time

Well, now we've got 2 weeks to get all of this pulled together. We're taking some money out of a retirement account for the down payment. They're supposed to take 2 weeks to get us a check. Kim's checking to see if she can get them to expedite the check to us. We'll figure out something if it doesn't show on time. I took the earnest money to the title company today. They told me the only thing that could hold us up on the deadline is getting the survey completed. They tell me to budget $800-$900 to get it done in a rush! Crap! that's a lot of money for someone to walk around with a GPS and a metal detector. (yes, I know they do a lot more than that. I'm just still in shock) I can't believe there's not a survey on file somewhere at the county considering the property has been sold twice in the past 10 years. I'll go down to the court house and shake a few limbs. Maybe I get lucky.

Fallen tree on back of property. I don't ever remember seeing a tree grow in a spiral pattern like this before.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

(Dec 6) Done Deal!

We finally got a counter offer. Not as low as I would have liked but better than I was willing to go. I tell the realtor "let's stop wasting time negotiating and close this deal before something goes wrong." Everyone agrees. Contracts are signed and we move ahead. We tell the seller we want to close in 2 weeks and he agrees. Everyone wants this done by Christmas. I can't wait to spend my first night here! Still in shock that it has all come together after all of the time we spent looking, all of the 1000s of miles we drove to be disappointed. We both agree though, this was worth the wait! All of the other properties that had fatal flaws or just somehow didn't work out were for the best. I'm so glad she talked me out of some of the others! Do you hear this, guys! Trust her instinct and trust that you will find the ONE that's right for you both! This is the best Christmas present ever!

I can't wait 'til Spring. Kinda scary buying property in the dead of winter. Not quite sure what it's all going to look like.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

(Dec 4) An offer is made

Well, it took a few days of wrangling with the bank but we finally got a "Pre-Approved" letter signed and an offer turned in on the property. I'm not a patient man once I've made up my mind. I really wanted all of this process to be done in a matter of hours. We find the property. We like the property. We negotiate a price. We sign papers and shake hands. We start clearing a driveway the next morning. Hmmm. Hasn't quite happened that way. Really should have had the approval letter done before hand. Could have shaved some time off of it. Realtors don't seem to sense my urgency. Keep telling me to "Be patient. Sometimes these small deals are the trickiest." I know it seems small to them. There's no 5 bedroom house. We're not dealing with a 1000+ acre ranch. But this is a big deal to me! Now we play the waiting game.

80' oak on the back third of the property. Can't wait to see it in the Spring!

Friday, November 30, 2012

(Nov 30) Time to show it off

Brought Kim out to see the property today. We both were able to get away from work a little early and made it out here about 30 minutes before sunset. She loves the property and more than that, is very happy with the neighborhood. We step a little closer. Mutual agreement. It's rarely happened in the last 4 years we've been looking! We agree to pursue the financing. This is going to be a roller coaster!

View of the front of the property along the road

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

(Nov 28) Eureka

Wow. I am in love! The drive out to the property was a bit longer than I had wanted but it wasn't as bad as some I've taken lately. About an hour east on a major highway. Then north another 20 minutes through very pretty country. I kept driving along large tracts of wooded land filled with large oak trees. I kept chanting to myself, "Please, let it be at least this pretty!" The roads were all in good shape and some interesting sights along the way. At one point, about 20 minutes away from the destination, there are a couple of ranches with exotics - camels, zebras and American bison. Anyway, it made for an interesting drive. I got to the last leg of the trip, the 1 mile dead end road. Land is still gorgeous. Houses in the neighborhood are average to really nice. I drive the last mile very slowly, anticipating a let down at the end. It never came. The land was everything I had envisioned on the way. I parked the car and just sat there for a while. I finally called the realtor listed on the sign in front to confirm it was still for sale and to get permission to walk the property for a bit. She was very nice and let me know that they had already had several people out to look at it in the week it had been on the market. I spent the next 3 hours browsing and sitting. I would wander out to a new area and find a comfortable place to sit for a while. Listen. Watch. Just soak it all in. No road noise. Just the wind through the trees. The entire property is covered with stunning oaks and elms, 50-80 feet tall, many bigger 'round than I can reach (and that has nothing to do with the girth of my mid-section! Besides, I tell people "I'm not fat. I'm famine resistant." lol).  Also a few scattered cedar to give it some color in the winter. There's a seasonal creek that runs across the middle with a cattle-guard bridge that had been built to cross it. The creek's dry but washed clean of any leaves so I know it's had water running in it over the last month or so. At 450 feet across and about 1500 feet deep, it's a perfect dimension. Wide enough that you can't see any neighbors on either side. Deep enough that you're out of sight of the road and still have 1000' to play with as a back yard. I finally call my better half who wants to know where I've been for most of the day. I inform her that I'm sitting in the middle of the property we're going to buy. This is the one! I stop and take a few pics before I head home. I'm very encouraged. Now to figure out how to pay for it!

View from edge of property back down road

(Nov 28) A GREAT property to look at

Found a property on today that looks promising. 12 acres in Point, TX, just east of Lake Tawakoni. Property is heavily wooded according to Google Maps. It's down at the end of a 1 mile long dead end road. The properties in the neighborhood are all 10-20 acres and look very clean per the satellite views. I'm heading out this afternoon to check it out. Really tired of waiting for a week or so to schedule a visit only to find out that the property sold 2 days before I got there. I've got a really good feeling about this one! Lets Keep our fingers crossed.