Thursday, June 3, 2010

History (II) and Reading Lists

History Part II: Bigger & Better in Germantown

So winter was approaching.  We had a contingent offer on Cottage but the farm we were looking at purchasing was no longer available.  Time to start scouring again!  After the Villa, we decided that we definitely wanted at least 8-10 acres or more if we could.  The idea of having not only a large garden and some laying hens and horses, but possibly our own milk cow was taking shape.

Along came a 1905 built farmhouse on 18 acres outside Germantown.  The house was smallish -- only about 1500 sq ft... slightly larger than what we were in now, but did have a big kitchen, 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.  And of course, there was the 18 acres!  They were beautiful ... slighly rolling, some woods, a creek, and all in pasture.  Unfortunately, we were going up in price so we definitely needed to sell Cottage first.  But, all indications were that we could still afford this farm.  AND the mortgage broker we were using was now authorized to process USDA loans and there was a 0-down USDA Rural Housing Loan that might fit our needs.  No down payment!  All we had to do was wait at this point.

January came and our buyer's credit had cleared up to the point that the mortgage broker and realtors all felt we were going in the right direction and the contracts could be drawn up and financials pulled.  We were set to close at the end of February on both places.  We would be "homeless" for a week as our buyer needed immediate occupancy while the farm seller wanted a week after closing to vacate.  No worries.  It would be worth it.  The inspection on the farm went STELLAR.  The appraisal however didn't.  At the time we thought poorly of the appraiser who stated the farm was a "working" farm which killed our deal with the USDA loan.  However, in hindsight he was trying to help us attain the appraisal value we needed for the deal.  It resulted in a lot of stress as I ran around and called different banks trying to get a loan that I could afford.  In the end, we talked about a loan assumption through Farm Credit and I thought we'd be ok.

Turns out all that stress and worry was for nothing.  Closing was scheduled for February 26th, but on the 20th, I got a call from my realtor that my buyer had backed out.  In hindsight, the fact that that inspection/appraisal period had come and gone without anything being done on Cottage should have clued me in.  We were devestated.  Buyer told 2 different stories -- having to renew her apartment lease and finding a FSBO she liked better -- so we don't believe her and have refused to release her earnest money back to her at this point.
Farm seller requested we renew the contract, contingent on the sale of Cottage of course, through the end of March.  No problem on our end doing just that as we wanted the farm.  Certainly didn't want to lose it because this buyer backed out on us.  We just kept trudging along.  Relisted on the MLS and had quite a few showings in March and April, but no offer.  The contract on the farm expired and I kept in touch with the seller directly.  She was giving us til at least the end of April before she tried to put it back on the market (coinciding with the end of the Federal Tax Credit program).

Could we get a buyer and work out the deal?  Stay tuned for Part III....

The New Reading List
A few days ago I received a catalog in the mail.  Acres U.S.A.'s book catalog.  WOW!  I don't think I've ever received a non-equestrian catalog that I've enjoyed so much.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love learning and am a sucker for interest related how-to type books.  I literally found dozens of books that are now part of my wish list... everything from disaster preparedness to livestock management to gardening to business advice.  The catalog is 80-ish pages with 5-6 books per page typically.  WOW!

I checked with and the library and found quite a few of them at either location and in some cases cheaper (but some not).  Some of them (like Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth) I think will be fantastic reference books to actually have on hand... so I will be purchasing those.  Others I think are either going to be good reads or I need to see before I spend the money, so I'll be looking at the library for those.  I did request 7 of them from the library yesterday:

  • Milk-Based Soaps by Casey Makela

  • Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs by Sandie Shores

  • Small-Scale Livestock Farming by Carol Ekarius

  • Just in Case by Kathy Harrison

  • Handy Farm Devices & How to Make Them by Rolfe Cobleigh

  • Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles
In addition, the UDBB had a thread yesterday that named several books which deal with surviving after some disaster... so I added The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler to the list.

~ Tammy

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