Buying the Land

We got the land!

My wife and I signed for it, and the county recorded it. We’re the proud owners of 79 point something acres of dirt and sagebrush.  It’s actually closer to 80 acres, so I’ll probably call it 80 instead of 79 acres most of the time.

Funny, I was looking for just over one acre to grow some fruit trees, and all we could afford was 80 acres. All the 1+ acre parcels we looked at were four to ten times more expensive than this 80 acre parcel. Life works out that way sometimes.

Ranch Outer Dimensions
The ranch measures 1/2 mile by 1/4 mile. It totals nearly 80 acres. It’s a real fixer upper.

We ended up paying the incredible price of only $9,000 for all 80 acres. Now let us be real. Without water, the land isn’t even worth that much. Putting in a well will be risky, because the water may not be usable, and the cost of the well will be many times the cost of the land. I have faith it will all fall into place.

Getting a loan was tricky. Banks don’t like to give loans on raw land, and this land is as raw as it gets. You won’t find any electric lines, water lines, gas lines or paved roads within miles of the land. Anything we build there will be off the grid. Somehow, developing land off the grid sounds appealing to me.

When buying raw land, the standard options are to take out a loan against your other assets such as your home; have the current owner finance the land; or pay cash. After discussing the issues with getting a loan from a bank, our realtor suggested we let him find a private financier.

Private financing has tradeoffs. On the upside, the paperwork can be reduced to a single page in some cases—like ours. On the downside, the interest rates can be higher with a quicker payoff required than a bank financed loan. For such a small loan, a quick payoff and a higher interest rate don’t sound like they’ll hurt us much.

We finally settled on private financing and made an offer on the land. He used our tax return as our  33% down payment, and spent part of a pleasant afternoon taking care of details at the title company. Then, we celebrated with dinner at Golden Corral.

So now that we own the land, calling it “the land” or calling it “the property” seems odd. It’s a hobby farm—very early staged hobby farm—but calling it “the hobby farm” in casual conversation seems awkward, too.

I presented the naming problem to my wife while we were on vacation at Bear Lake this last weekend. She and the kids came up with many ideas, such as Midnight Ranch, Sagebrush Ranch, and Da Ranch.  Bridget finally suggested “Dove Ranch”, because the land is located on Dove Creek Hills Road. We made a lot of jokes about it sounding pretty close to Da Ranch (with da sagebrush and da rabbits and da dirt). However, we liked Dove Ranch and kept the name in the end.

Dove Ranch it is. Now all we  need is one of those big ranch signs.

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