No. of Recommendations: 1
So in the previous post I described how buying a rural, unique property can result in the inability to get a market rate mortgage in today's strained mortgage market. Part of the problem for our property was the limited number of sales of any kind, but it is further complicated by the fact that the property in question is essentially a "garage apartment."

The owner-builder has built a seriously solid structure, with a 720SF 1br 1bath with a good living area and tiny kitchen upstairs, and a 720SF garage/workshop with 1/2 bath downstairs. Oh, and there are no stairs, other than those going up to the upstairs deck on the outside. "We don't give mortgages for garage apartments," is what two of the banks told us. What they don't see is the built in design for future expansion that the seller did. The lower level is drywalled, wired, and plumbed. The septic system has a large enough tank to expand from a one bedroom to a three with the addition of more lines in the drain field, and was put out far enough to allow for an addition to the house if desired. But banks see what is on paper, and neither look for nor use unrealized potential in their equation for lending.

We have long held to the belief that the most important criteria in our property search is the property itself and it's river bank. I guess that's just another way to state that the three most important things to consider when buying real estate is Location, Location, Location. This lot is one of the best we have seen in all our years of searching. It has 300 foot of creek frontage, with one end being on a shallow rapid with very easy access, and the other end being deep enough for a rope swing to plunge into the cool, but not cold, and crystal clear depths.

You'll find no trout in this warm spring fed creek, but lots of good sized bass, and plenty of crayfish and other bait to catch to fish with. DH has to be one of the worst fishermen I know, and he regularly pulls 2 pounders out of this creek. Which is one reason why I love it being so clear. I want to see those fish coming for me well before they get there. Me, I love to kayak, and even in drought conditions we have been able to kayak up and down this creek...only occasionally needing to get out and walk the kayak over a particularly shallow rapid. People are surprised that something called a creek can be kayaked, but this creek has been referred to in print as "the creek that thinks it's a river." But as has already been inferred, I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to deep dark depths, so this body of water is perfect for me, and I feel perfectly comfortable heading out on my own to explore the ever changing creek.

So clearly, location works for us. And the building on the location can be made to work, and work well. But given that we have to pay cash for this property, and have as of late last night reached a verbal agreement with the seller and are now waiting for the paperwork, (did I mention our buyer's agent is worth her weight in gold?), we are concerned about putting too much cash into this property. Further complicating the cash component is that Eldest is heading off to college next year. So part of our analysis in deciding to buy this property for cash was to look at our non-retirement assets to make sure that we were still comfortably covered, both as an emergency fund and to pay for college after shelling out this money. We are pretty conservative and like the risks we take to be well cushioned by the ability to recover from mistakes. Don't let your dreams sink your life. Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

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