What to Check before Buying a Property
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when you start looking at where you want to live. Most people start their search based on how far they are willing to commute to work. Then if you are planning to have or have small children you look at your school districts. Finally, you look at what is actually for sale in that very limited area that you just designated and it could be as simple as putting an offer in on the one house that met your criteria. However, that is probably not the case so there are further things you should take into consideration.
For example, Erin and I wanted to build our own home someday so we were looking for a piece of ground with no existing structures but was zoned to allow a residence. We didn't have the funds to start the house outright but had a trailer home that we planned to move into until we could afford to build. That pretty much ruled out anywhere with an existing HOA, as they generally frown on trailer houses. After making offers on serval other locations we finally came to find the piece of ground we live on today. It checked all the boxes and the price was within budget so in July of 2015 bought 28 acres (more than twice what we had been looking for) and started the process of turning a field into our ideal homefront.
Here we are coming up on six years later and as we approach the completion of our dream home I can't honestly imagine that we will ever live anywhere else. That being said though, if I had known then what I know now, I would NOT live where I do today. If you are thinking about buying a property and you have the luxury of choosing between more than one let me add a few items to your list of things to consider.
Before buying anything try digging a hole on the property. Clay is great for pottery and ponds but if you are trying to do anything else in it, my advice is don't. It is sticky when you try to walk through it and hard if you need to dig. It expands and contracts so much with moisture it can damage underground piping and foundations. Plus keeping anything other than weeds growing in it will require a thumb so green that your doctor with try to amputate it.
Once you get up out of the dirt think about the air. More specifically the wind. Strong winds can do a lot more damage than most people realize, especially while trying to build or establish foliage. Even after everything is built and growing when the "breezes" blows against that building at just the right angle it will whistle, and the fast the wind the louder and creeper that whistle sounds. A hilltop house is not all it is cracked up to be.
Finally take one last look at your commute, once you have established a distance think about your direction. If you go to work between certain times in your area (between 7:30 and 8:00 am in Kansas) an Eastward morning commute will point you straight at the sun on the way to the office and right back into it all the way home most of the year.
None of these are things that can't be overcome or dealt with. They are just annoyances that should be avoided if possible. But if you are like us someday (I hope) you will find yourself standing in a home or on a piece of land and just know that it is where you want to raise your family. Then you will fight and struggle and work hard till you make it happen. When all that is said and done you will probably have something you wish you had known before you bought that property but you won't care so much cause it is all worth it to watch the sunset over your little piece of paradise.
I hope that this post has found you in good health and of a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering ...
Is it as windy on the next hilltop over?