Friday, February 24, 2012

Farm Tour: The Third Marathon

A surprise snowfall put a minor wrench in our farm marathon plans for the day (a few farm owners cancelled at the last minute), but we still made it up to the southern part of the "quiet corner" to check out 5 more properties.

The first property was in Killingly (about 50 minutes from home) and it was really lovely.  The garage had a really nice studio overlooking the property (perfect for a classroom), the house was nice and had a basement apartment, and there were several new-ish outbuildings, fenced in pastures, and a gorgeous pond.  I would have REALLY liked it, were it not for the fact that looking at the house from afar, the roof was sagging really low.  Listed at $375K ($75 over budget), the cost of repairing the roof and all of the other problems would have probably been prohibitive.

The second house we went to go see was a new construction, set on 8 acres of rolling pasture and listed at $209K.  Sounds too good to be true, right?  Well, turns out the 8 acres was all wooded and the house was only a foundation (set to be finished in 45 days).  The builder we met with was really nice and took us to a similar home, but I told my real estate agent that I felt like a pilgrim standing there.  It was really difficult imagining what it would look like with a house and cleared land.

The third property was also listed over my price range ($379K), but that was about the only thing wrong with it.  The house was in excellent condition and the property had a large vegetable garden, 3,000 blueberry bushes, and 50 apple trees.  My mom thought it would be the perfect spot to have a wedding. ;-)

The fourth property was in Scotland, CT - right near town.  The views were gorgeous, the house was in excellent shape, but the "farm" portion was a little cluttered.  It was designed for mini horses and had a bunch of raised bed gardens everywhere.  It was very nice, but I didn't have a great feeling about it.  Sure enough, after looking it up on the web soil survey, the land is classified as "extremely stony," which would make it difficult to grow vegetables.

The fifth property (no photo) was in North Stonington, but was a foreclosure.  I don't know enough about foreclosed homes, but I do know that they can be a headache to purchase from the bank.  The house was outdated and the land was thickly wooded (no one seemed to know the property boundaries).  It seemed like too enormous of a project to even begin to think of where to get started.

Tomorrow my agent is going to run a comparative market analysis on a few of the properties to see what an appropriate offer price would be.  I'm still a little stuck on the Ledyard Mini-Farm I saw earlier in the week, but I'm having a terrible time communicating with town zoning.  I called twice and sat at the town hall for an hour yesterday waiting to meet with someone, but no one had a clue what is and isn't allowed and it's not printed in the zoning regulations.  Monday I'll try again, and if I get nowhere I'll set up a meeting with the mayor.

The loan officer called today to check in and sent over a bunch of paperwork to sign.  I'm still in the game, but the next few weeks will not be easy.  Hopefully I can wrap things up with the Lebanon farm and get my money back, draft a contract for one of the farms I've seen, and negotiate a fair price.  I'm still scouring the internet, but the properties are all becoming a blur.  I have a few listings from the CT Farmlink program, but they're not too promising either.  I'll be so happy when I finally find a home and come up with a plan for the season.

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