After 7 months of looking for a house with some land, we just haven't been able to find anything we like. We've looked at so many houses that they are starting to become a big blur. We did make an offer on a house in Jemison, AL on 6 acres, but the roof was rotted and leaking and the electrical did not pass inspection. The seller wasn't willing to fix the problems or lower the price so the deal fell through.
While looking, we found a house in McCalla, AL that had just been flipped. It was on 1.5 acres which isn't that big, but was big enough. When we went to look at the house, the quality of materials used in the remodel was terrible. Also, the quality of the builder was just as bad. The floor in the living room was spongy in spots, where the ceiling met the wall was obviously crooked, etc. We walked away from that one pretty quick. We did note that it sold, so someone wasn't as picky as we were.
We found some land!
There was another house we looked at locally but it required too much interior remodeling, but close behind there we found 21 acres for sale. It is Brent, AL and we now have a contract on it. Closing is scheduled for October 31, 2017. We will have a 3 bedroom 2 bath house built on it then we will build our hobby farm. We are currently waiting on two things, the perk test for the septic tank, and the draftsman to finish the house plans and blueprints so we can take them to the builder. The builder will then give us an exact price to build the house, and we then take that info to the lender for the construction loan. We are already pre-approved for way more than we are willing to spend, so no worries there. It is just a very slow process and we are anxious to get started. 1
OK, this is big!
Yesterday we walked the perimeter of our new land and it was much larger than we anticipated. We knew it was 21.84 acres based on the GIS map, but when you are walking through the woods it seems much larger. We took a can of bright orange marking paint with us so we could better identify the survey markers. Of course, we ran into a lot of stickers, a lot of limbs had fallen in the woods, and some sorry neighbors had tossed their trash over the fence onto our side. We'll be tossing all that right back over the fence. The grass in the pasture area of the land hasn't been cut in a long time to it was quite thick. And that thickness made it very hard to walk in. And you can know for certain that the weeds had grown 6 feet high and were doing their best to take over. We'll either have someone to come cut and bale the field for goat hay, or just hire someone to bush hog it for us. Winter isn't far away so the plants and grasses won't grow back very much. We have a good supply of RoundUp so we can put a halt to the weeds in the field.
ATV or UTV?
To get around the property easier we will need to get some sort of off-road vehicle. ATVs are cheaper than UTVs but they can't carry as many people or as much gear. We'd rather have a UTV and hopefully we can find a good used one or at least a new one with a good sale price. We could get by with a good sized ATV so we're keeping our options open for now. We will visit a few motorcycle shops and look over their inventory and prices. We'll also keep an eye on Craigslist and our little local magazine called The Mule Trader. We'll post a picture when we get whatever we get. 2
Perc or perk test?
The company we hired to do our perk test came out to the property today. We used Mike Moates out of Jemison, AL for two reasons... he was recommended to us and he was $200 cheaper than everyone else! He came out with a small Kubota tractor with a front loader and a backhoe attachment. It was a cool little tractor and it easily did the job. We didn't take any pictures of him, but here is a stock image of some guy on a backhoe. This is the type of tractor we want to have once the farm gets going.
We will have the septic tank installed along with a decent sized drain field. The building permit dictates the size of both. The spot behind the house we wanted to put the septic was not suitable so we moved to option 2. Option 2 was to have the septic tank and drain field along the left side of the house. This wouldn't work as we need that area for the garage and driveway... the entry door to the house is on the left side. That meant we had to go to Option 3 which was to move the drain field out a ways from the house in the field. Mike dug his holes over there and everything was good to go. Our only issue is that we have to have a longer pipe from the septic to drain field and it will pass under the driveway. There's also a small ditch the pipe must cross so we will have to wrap a steel guard around the pipe in that area. No worries, we can handle that.
Mike brought us his completed paperwork and we took that to the Health Department. We paid the fee there and an inspector came out to inspect the site a few days later. We passed that inspection and received out installation permit in the mail. We paid $350 for the perk test and $50 to the Health Department. All these fees add up quickly and there will be plenty more ahead. It takes far more money than just the down payment to buy some land and have a house built.
What is a perk test?
According to Wikipedia, a percolation test (colloquially called a perc test or perk test) is a test to determine the water absorption rate of soil (that is, its capacity for percolation) in preparation for the building of a septic drain field (leach field) or infiltration basin.