Some time ago we have finally moved to a new house. It was a very exiting experience in my life and I would like to share it on this blog. So, why did we decided to move? The lot. This was actually the main reason we wanted to move and ultimately decided to build. What we want is very specific and wasn’t very easy to find.
I grew up in a neighborhood and knew the advantage of growing up with lots of kids to play with. I lived on a dead-end street where we could ride our bikes and play with little fear of cars and I really wanted the same for my kids. Location was also a big factor. We currently live close to where Kirk grew up. Although living close to his family is very convenient, our current location is not located near the major highway that goes through our area. This makes getting to shops and attractions in some parts of the city, plus my drive to work, long and difficult.
Since we have two kids, living in an area with good schools was very important to both of us.Large, private lot (2+ acres?)
- Ability to build a barn
- Part of a neighborhood
- Close to work/shops
- Good schools
After years of casually looking for homes or land that met this criteria, we came across two good options.Lot #1
This lot has actually been available for several years, but it wasn’t something Kirk or I noticed earlier because of it’s location. It was farther away than either of us were initially looking. One day Kirk expanded the online search he was doing and found it.Pros:
- 6.5 acres
- Located in a neighborhood
- Good schools
At 6.5 acres, this piece of land was large and it was surrounded by other large lots. All the lots on the street were 5-7 acres, meaning we would definitely get the privacy we wanted. Also, we knew an outbuilding was a possibility because a couple of the other houses on the street had them on their property.Drawbacks:
- Unfamiliar area
- 30 miles from both of our jobs
- Not all of the neighborhood was new
- Private water
Probably the biggest drawback of this lot was the location. It was in a far away location that we weren’t familiar with. Everything we could find online gave the school district good ratings, but since we had never heard of the schools before, it was an unknown. The location also meant both of us would be driving farther to work. Although the lot was located in a neighborhood, the set-up was a little unconventional. The neighborhood consisted of the street we were looking at which had new houses and 3 other streets that had small lots with older homes. Even though we knew this wasn’t a huge negative, we wondered how having to drive through an older neighborhood to get to our new house would affect the house’s value. On the lot’s listing, the realtor listed the water as “private, public not available”. Usually the two options for water were public or well. Having private water may not really be a drawback, but it was something we would need to look into if we decided to buy this lot.
The second option also had been available for awhile, but we never really considered it because it was only an acre. Since our current house is on 2 acres, that became the minimum we were initially looking for. After someone I know told me about a neighborhood that consisted of all 1 acre lots, we decided to drive by to see if it was a possibility for us.Pros:
- Located in a neighborhood
- Good schools
- Desirable location
This neighborhood is located in a still rural part of the city that has been growing a lot over the last couple of years. Lots of new housing developments and shopping areas, including a new mall, has been built recently. The schools are known for being very good and we know people who live in this area and they all seem to love living there. Outbuildings are allowed in the neighborhood as along as the plan is approved. Living here would cut my drive time to work in half and would only add a couple of minutes to Kirk’s commute because of it’s location near the highway.
Since we like the privacy of our current lot, that became a minimum requirement for our new house. When we really stepped back to think about it though, we realized we love the fact we don’t have neighbors on top of us, but we only actually use about half of our yard. Although all of the lots in this neighborhood are 1 acre, there is only one available lot that interested us. It backs up to other lots that are 5 acres, giving us the privacy we want without actually having to own the land. This lot is also located on a cul-de-sac which we think will increase the distance between us and our neighbors.
The county recently redrew the flood plain lines, and this lot is now considered to be in a flood zone. Although we know this is something that would immediately turn off some buyers (the realtor even told us that happened with a few people who called about the lot) we are not that worried about it. There is so much to say about this subject, so I will leave most of it for another post, but basically, we don’t think the lot will flood and we think it can be removed from the flood zone. We drove by the lot after receiving a lot of rain that melted a couple of feet of snow that had accumulated. There was sitting water in several areas of the city (including our backyard) but not a drop of water on the lot. As for removing the lot from the flood zone, we have a letter from an engineer that estimates bringing in 6 inches of fill dirt would be enough to get it removed from the flood zone.
So… Which option did we pick?
We actually drove by both lots for the first time on the same day. We went to lot #1 first and left happy because we knew it was a good possibility for us. Then we drove to lot #2 and fell in love. Really. We are both very excited about this lot because we think it will be perfect for our family. Now just to buy it…