I sit before you kinda shell shocked.
We put an offer on a property we thought we could probably never get.
OMG. I don’t know whether to dance or vomit…
You see, it is a dream property (the great part) but it needs a lot before it is move-in ready (the not-so-great part) and I’m not presently made of money (the vomit part).
But, as they say, PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER and YOU GOTTA RISK TO WIN BIG.
80 acres, my friends… 80 real, honest-to-goodness, out in the country, attached to a trail system, in the Central Coast wine country of California.
First off, I gotta nod my head and heart to my Hubby who would never, ever even consider 80 acres attached to a trail system if he wasn’t married to me. (Although he keeps walking around muttering and smiling about ’80 acres in California’…).
OK, the story goes like this…
When you are working with a real estate person, they put you on a list to receive automated emails for any property that comes on the market (or has a price change) according to your particular variables. For example, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 5 or more acres, not falling down the hill or saturated with mold, blah blah.
So, we receive these emails as often as they are generated. Poof! All the potential matches (it is kinda like an online dating service for houses…) are served up on your screen for you to guess whether the photographer was extremely good or extremely bad.
In any case, you decide if you want to view the property. And, in our case, if we decided we wanted to view a place, we’d try to view as many as possible during any one visit since Paso Robles is 6 hours away.
We’ve been doing this since February. Almost a year. We’ve kissed a lot of toads and kicked several tires. The folks at the Hilton in Paso know us well…
Anyway, one such email popped up onto our screens on Wednesday of last week. It looked good. Nice, new small house on 80 acres. Hmmmm. I wonder what it really is like? (We’ve learned not to have much of an opinion until we actually see the place.) So, we told our agent that we wanted to see it. But, since last weekend was a huge holiday, we weren’t able to get there until Monday (three days ago).
We made appointments to see 4 properties on this visit. We got in our car, very hopeful… but alas, the first two were not acceptable. Par for the course… The third was workable in an uncomfortable way — we have come to consider ‘workable’ places since we’ve missed out on 2 properties already.
Sidebar: Since the housing market is so bad right now, many people are upsidedown on their mortgages so they don’t want to sell. Most of the houses that are presently on the market are foreclosures (which are usually a bit of a mess) and short sales (a risk) or very old and in need of updating. Hubby and I have had a difficult time finding something that will work for both of us (Me: horse property Him: a nice house). The first house we offered on we lost because we were too ignorant to the process. The second house we offered on we didn’t get because our offer wasn’t accepted. After a year of looking and losing out, we were smarter and ready to pounce if we found something suitable.
OK back to the property.
It was the last on the list for Monday. We arrived around 1pm. The neighborhood was full of old style California large ranches with some estatey feeling stables and houses… Nice. The property had an automatic gate that kinda made your car’s back end stick out in traffic. Hmmmmm. We drove around a narrow and steep, one lane road (not good for the trailer). When we got to the property, the hill up to the house was very steep.
So far, the house had some serious dings… steep entrance and not trailer happy roads.
We got out of the car and turned around.
The view, from all sides, was incredible! Hmmmm. We asked the real estate agent if she knew the boundaries and she didn’t. I figured it was all in front of us. So, I headed down the trail behind the house (fire road) to see where it went. Obviously there were horses who used it – right by our house. A trail… that went for miles, right outside the house.
I walked that trail and it wasn’t too steep. It would be OK. I wondered who owned it and how I would get permission to ride.
Next, we walked inside.
BEAUTIFUL. All wood trim. TALL ceilings. New.
SMALL. 1500 sq.feet. Yikes! We walked around trying to figure out how we’d stuff two girls into one small room. We wondered how I could use the laundry room counter as an office. We pondered remodeling the Master. But, it felt good. The views were nice out of every window. The kitchen was big. There were no carpets anywhere! All wood and tile. Very nice.
As I stood in the foyer and looked out the huge windows, I felt like Audra in THE BIG VALLEY.
We proceeded outside and down to a flat part of the property to walk part of the fenceline. A guy named LUKE drove up on his ATV. He asked if we had lost a dog. We said No. He said that he would have helped us find our lost dog… (otherwise known as a neighbor looking out for unknown people strolling around…). We liked Luke.
Along the fenceline, I saw two, huge oak trees. Thank Treegods. I also saw a flat road out to the main road through Luke’s property. Hmmmmm. To be addressed later maybe.
As we tried to figure out the boundaries, Hubby and I kept looking at each other, “Could we make it work?” and “Wow, what an investment property…”.
After milling about for an hour, we drove off to think about it.
THERE’S AN OFFER ALREADY.
So, we were kinda numb driving out of there… it was a great opportunity but it needed everything. A barn, hay storage, temporary fencing, shelters, real fencing, gates and more rooms in the house. But it was very cool and quite an opportunity…
Then we got the call… Our realtor told us that the property had just received an offer. (It had only been on the market for 3 days.) We would have to put an offer in that day if we wanted it. AND, there was a huge realtor showing the next day where 60+ agents would have a walk-through.
We looked at each other and decided that this 80 acres could be an incredible spread. It could be the BARKLEY RANCH or THE PONDEROSA or whatever we wanted. I would just have to find a good job and go for it. In the meantime, the house would be too small and the horses would have to make do with smaller paddocks and temporary shelter. My tack would live in my trailer. I would have no office.
We pulled into the nearby restaurant (The Loading Chute – a great name for a local watering hole in cattle country…) and called our lender. He said, “Are you kidding me? 80 ACRES!! GO FOR IT OR I’LL BUY IT!”
So we put all of our strategies together and made an offer. The cool thing was that once the paperwork was ready, we were able to pull over at a Starbucks and sign all the documents via an online service… Wild! We had the offer in by 5pm that day.
WHEN I GOT HOME
When I got home, I looked up the property on Zillow to check the boundaries.
There are approx 30 acres up front and the other 50 are the backside of the property… not farmable, but THEY INCLUDE THE ROAD TO THE TRAILS! That fire road that I had walked was actually on the property. It leads right down to the riverbed and all the trail systems. It also leads right into the neighbor’s ranch and all the other neighbors’ ranches that feed into the trail system.
I have always wanted to be able to ride out from my house…
I started to cry a bit.
Scared and happy at the same time.
So, the reality is that the entrance to the property needs a bit of figuring out with the trailer. We have a lot of horsey stuff to build – which could be very cool since I’m much more wise about all that now… And, I will have to figure out a new job in a new city – fast!.
But, the opportunity is great.
Hubby called me this morning and he sounded not quite right…
I asked him what was wrong.
He said, “Nothing. I guess I’m in shock.”
He had received a call from our agent. The owners of the property live next door on a perfectly manicured 65 acre full equestrian estate (which we didn’t know). They had a few questions for us and they wanted to meet us.
OK, I said…
“And,” he said, “they accepted our offer!”
HOLY CRAP!!! I dropped the phone.
We are meeting them on Saturday.
HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS, FRIENDS… HERE WE GO!!!
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
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What a fantastic way to start a new year! Congrats :)
That is beautiful! I’m so happy for you guys and want to hear and see more. Looks like an awesome property to ride!!
I was humming The Big Valley theme song at the first picture! Amazing! So how far is it to a city? How far is it to the ocean? In one of the pictures it looks like rows of something planted. Are they vines? I am so excited for you and can’t wait to read all about it.
Congrats Dawn. Happy for you. Just remember…..fire/earthquake proof everything!!!!
I own a tiny piece of California out back by the chaporral and trails. Your 80 are going to make my 4 acres seem like a piece of cake. Welcome to well water, propane, satalite tv and brush clearance. The rural learning curve was a bit tough at first, but I will never go back to city living. You will have plenty to write about now!
This is SO exciting!! Good for you! It sounds like it could be your dream property!
All I can say is WOOOO HOOOO!!!!!!!!
That is awesome!! Congrats!! Looking forward to you sharing your new adventure with us!!
Way to move into 2012 girlfriend! Good luck!
Even cooler upon second reading! *Good Luck!*
So exciting! WowWowWow!
Dreams becone reality when you add the goals it takes to get there..Good Luck!!