We had to do away with our old 20 acre property due to strict Michigan regulations and conservation efforts. The land we bought we could not build on the way we wanted without it costing near $500,000. We purchased a new property with a house already on it.
This is our new farmette (or mini farm) location!
So, here is the full story of why we had to sell our previous property.
From Howling Springs to Howling Farms
To explain, let me start by saying we did our research and then some. We trusted our realtor, we trusted the seller, we thought we were protected. The sale and everything went fine. After having the property (very beautiful property) for a couple of years it was time to start the building process. This was a headache from the start. Well long story short, we ran in to a problem with the STATE (Michigan) allowing us to build on the property. This is something that I feel should have been disclosed by the seller, but wasn't.
The property was listed as "buildable" but we didn't know it came with heavy restrictions. We were not going to be able to build where we wanted to build, or how we wanted to build. The STATE came in and said they couldn't approve our building location during a "pre-application meeting" with the DEQ (Dept. of Environmental Quality) because they could not approve our driveway that came off of a state road.
Why couldn't they approve the driveway? Because it would have to go over a "wetland" area. Even though the neighbor's house had a driveway going over the same "wetland" area. They claim that it's because of newly enforced laws, but they would let it pass if we could prove to them why we couldn't build our house closer to the road.... Okay, did you see what they said? We could build a HOUSE in the "wetland" area, but we couldn't put a driveway with a much smaller footprint over the "wetland" area to get to a better part of the property that WE OWNED. Crazy!
The DEQ told us to see if we could gain access using the easement (which still went over the wetland area) and part of the neighbor's driveway. Then he could approve, without a permit, for us to build. Well, as you all may or may not know, it's never good to use an easement, especially a utility easement, for access to your property. And then to go to the neighbor's and ask if you could share their driveway and land to access the easement. A side note, the neighbor's are leasing the house and are not the owners of the property. So much more hassle.
Ultimately, there were just too many headaches involved with building on the property. We had quoted a driveway install before we found out it was not an option and the driveway and contract work for the foundation of the house we intended to build, all the clearing, etc. was going to cost us near $200,000 to do! That does NOT include the actual house costs of another $200,000 (roughly)!
So.... We started searching again for another property, this time with a house already in place. We found 3 that we really liked. One was on 5 acres of land, all brick and very large, but the downside was the fact that it was 5 acres and very large! We're talking over 4500 sq. ft large. Way too big for what we wanted. The land itself wasn't all that great, but the house did not need any big updating.
The second house we found that we liked we actually put an offer in. It was on 40 acres of beautiful land, the house needed some updating to make it suitable for us, but the seller was absolutely ridiculous in their counter offer and how much money they wanted as earnest money. They wanted over $6k earnest money which was more than the price reduction on their counter offer from the original price. Totally not worth it and our realtor agreed that was pretty much unheard of. Considering $1000 is usually the standard earnest deposit. The kicker being they wanted to deposit the $6k immediately and it's usually held on to by the ***le company until closing. INSTANT RED FLAGS!
The third property was on we initially flew to Michigan to see, but we liked the least as far as house updates. But, the house was livable, the property was nice and included 10 acres and some alternative heat sources and other little things we liked and could make use of. After a back and forth in negotiations and potential legal issues after we put an offer in on the house (another offer came in and the seller tried starting a bidding war after having us accepting their counteroffer), we are nearing our closing date! Hopefully it's smooth.
Oh, and did I mention within about 2 weeks of our having listed our property, we have someone purchasing it as well? They too are supposed to be closing just before our house closing. Crazy times and again, hopefully it's smooth and timely.
Howling Springs has now changed to Howling Farms since we no longer have the beautiful springs on our property... we will be starting some more videos and articles as promised, just in a different location!