Saturday, August 28, 2010

Looking for New Property

Be forewarned: I got carried away with details-it's LONG!

We've been looking at property and coming up with ideas since before we were married. We've had some grand ideas that we could never afford, but the process can be fun. We had a strategy for paying for the more realistic ideas, but Plan A got kiboshed before we could ever put it into play. Plan B was a bit more of a challenge and would take time, but we could build in phases with that plan. Well, the economy nose dived and the source of those funds dried up too. In between those phases, we bought what we thought was the perfect parcel. Two acres of irrigated land for the price that many people were asking for one. The bonus was the other 3 couples making up this investment group were all part of the church we go to, and people we'd actually want to be neighbors with. We managed to get the cash for the buy in and then we really started dreaming/planning! We'd been renting since getting married and were eager to set down roots.

(Would it help to know that we got married in 2006?)

Thru an odd exchange, we ended up with a home to live in while building that had no mortgage. It was supposed to be temporary-like 6 to 8 months. It's now been two and a half years and we aren't any closer to building than when we moved in! There are several reasons why, but I won't go into all of that in this post. Suffice to say that had I known we'd even be here a year I never would have agreed to the set up. It's just not adequate to call a home. I've tried not to complain too much, as it is paid for but I feel like I'm holding back on things until we have a "real" house. Every few months we look at what's available in our area and quickly realize there's nothing wonderful enough about any of the places to make us want to go into debt. However, I'm getting weary of tripping over every day items because there's nowhere to put them. Oh, and the balloon payment on that marvelous piece of property is due November 1st. Nothing like a large sum of money coming due to change one's perspective.

I think I mentioned last week that we even drove to TN last December to see if we'd want to live there, because it seemed like an ideal place for us and prices are like a 10th of what they are here. We've looked at other parts of AZ, but where we are has water. Water means plants and trees. Plants and trees mean food and shade. Food and shade mean happier family. Need I say more? So I tell you all of this because we found a place that is almost perfect, but the parts that aren't are enough to make us really examine our motives and desires and continue to seek God's guidance. That's where you come in. We've made a list of the pros and cons of each place and I'd like to present it for examination. Maybe you will see something we haven't thought of or have some wisdom and insight we don't.

For the record, we make quarterly payments on that piece of land we bought a few years ago. The cost of this place we're looking at would give us a mortgage of roughly $200/month less than what that quarterly payment works out to be-if they accepted our low ball offer. We're also aware that the mortgage would now be on our primary residence rather than a bare piece of land that we could let go of, if needed. So here's the list:

Current Residence Pros:
  1. no mortgage
  2. irrigation
  3. creek
  4. easy drive to town
  5. 1 acre
  6. central heat & AC
  7. wood stove
  8. hen house
  9. fenced garden
 Current Residence Cons:

  1. tight floor plan
  2. no storage
  3. old bath fixtures
  4. highway noise
  5. drafty construction
  6. cracked window seals
  7. can't remodel
  8. can't take more foster kids/no siblings for TJ
  9. can't have guests
  10. no room for crafts
  11. bad flooring
  12. one bathroom
  13. no linen closet
  14. funky thermostat
  15. I could go on, but I don't want to be reminded!

Proposed Residence Pros:

  1. hen house
  2. barn with stalls
  3. hay loft
  4. mechanical room (could be used as milking area)
  5. pond
  6. pasture
  7. fenced
  8. cross fenced
  9. fenced garden
  10. music work shop
  11. root cellar
  12. cheese aging room
  13. evaporative cooling
  14. storage
  15. workshop
  16. wood stove (s)
  17. trampoline enclosure
  18. swing set up
  19. irrigation
  20. 2 acres

Proposed Residence Cons:

  1. mortgage
  2. no AC
  3. small master bedroom-not so bad except it's 1 of only 2 bedrooms-foster care makes this a challenge
  4. tight floor plan-would be a challenge to remodel to our liking
  5. old bath fixtures

 If we simply look at the numbers of pros and cons on each, the decision seems easy, but some of the cons are big at the proposed place. This post is already long, but I'll take a bit more time to say that once TJ's adoption is final, he can't share a room with foster children unless they are the same age group and gender. I think the dividing line for age is 6, so that gives us a year to find a way to have another bedroom for more kids. Once a child is adopted, the rules no longer apply. TJ really wants a brother, and we think it'd be good for him to have one, so that's a big consideration too. Children two and under can share our room, but we're not sure we want any that young. There's a bedroom in the basement, but it can't be used for foster children because there have to be two exits to the outside from any room they sleep in for fire safety. This room has no exits to the outside. The master bedroom being small isn't so much the issue as sharing the upstairs bathroom is. Our thought was to build a master suite on the main level so that both upstairs rooms would be kids rooms. Oh yeah, and when my parents come to visit, they can't go up and down the stairs, so there isn't anywhere for them to stay. Here I go talking myself out of a place that I really want! Well, I really want all the outside amenities and the basement. And the huge workshop for Tony's instrument building-along with another workshop for everything else. Did I mention storage? We'd be able to buy in bulk and save money. And with two acres we'd have enough grazing area for all the animals we have. And that pond-not having to fill buckets for the goats several times a day-how much power does that feature get?? I didn't tell you the barn stalls are configurable-the gates swing either way to make various size stalls. If we had to buy hay-we could buy in bulk and save again!

Now do you see why this is such a hard decision?  Maybe floor plans will help:

If you've read this far, you're a real trooper and I thank you!