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Loved reading other peoples stories! Here is ours... Also in Seattle. Currently in an apartment in Lynnwood. Just bought 5 acres out east of Duvall. We started off with a significant down payment from our savings while we were teaching English in South Korea. The initial plan was simply to fix up the amenities (well and septic) and throw a trailer on it then build a dream home with Cobb or Cord-wood masonry or hay bale. Fortunately for us, my mother-in-law came forward with some early inheritance that has opened a whole new realm of possibilities. We are still very restrained by finances. If you want to have an idea of what is necessary financially to buy land and build, there is a woman named Susan at the Lynnwood Washington Federal bank (a portfolio lender, meaning they will make their money off your interest rather than making their money from selling your loan on the market). She offers a free 90 minute class where she walks you through all the financial expectations and permitting steps that the process involves. Its not a perfect class that will prepare you for everything, but at-least it helps you understand the banks perspective. We got our land for a crazy cheap price, but we are located on the east boarder of nothing. There is literally no civilization east of us unless you go north to 2, or south to 90 or all the way east of the cascades. Its pretty awesome!!! Now we need to determine how much we can afford to build based on the gift from my mother in law and our very limited income. Interest rates are spiraling upward and the world is so crazy right now. We see this as our best opportunity to invest for our retirement, but there has also been a court ruling against Whatcom county recently regarding private wells. It is still up in the air whether king county will ban building permits on private wells the way that some other counties have done in reaction to the ruling. I'm planning to start a blog outlining the process we are going through, but for now I would recommend Google earth to check what a parcels layout really feels like. https://www.redfin.com/http://www.home4investment.com/ and as you know... Zillow. Watch them like a hawk. Look for good deals. Check the good ones using google earth to find nearby power lines, or other odd geological features. Also use http://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/iMap/ too look up public records using the parcel number. Let me know if you ever want to grab a beer, I love to talk about this stuff and would love to make more permies friends in my area. Same goes for anyone on here. Would love to start a Seattle permies.com meetup. Does such a thing already exist?
I was hoping to go with the Glacier Ridge plans which were the same, but with a walk out basement. Unfortunately the lady at the bank told me I'm too Poor.
As for bears, we will be moving in on a 20 year bear smorgasbord. Those trees are 20+ years old and have not ever had regular human occupation. You should have seen the piles under the apple trees once they were ready. Every 5 feet. Think there is a family. We intend to get a pair of LGDs. We have already visited Olympicdogs.net in person and seen his stock. We were impressed.
we have 15 or so apple trees, 3 or so plumb trees (various types), 5 or more cherry trees (in the worst shape... 2 will need to be taken out for sure), 3 asian pear trees, 2 pear trees, 2 peach trees, a tree we haven't identified yet because the bear stripped it before it ripened. I think that's it. Kinda awesome, but we need to learn to care for an orchard.
There were tons of Deer before hunting season started. I was regularly seeing 5-12 deer each evening that I stayed around in the summer for the sun to set.
There are Grapes on the property, but they are so overgrown with blackberries Im probably gonna have to take the whole hedge to the ground. Any input on this would be welcome.
There are 9 blueberry bushes in a chain link cage that we had to clear significant blackberry vines out of. We were picking on them for a few months, got maybe 2 gallons, hadn't put a dent in them when I accidentally left the gate open one time. No berries when we came back, but there was a pile of bear crap just outside the fence that would not have looked out of place in Jurassic park.
The cabin had a mouse infestation. they are either gone, or have learned to avoid poison. slowly ripping out all the affected insulation and stripping it down to sanitize it, planning a 50/50 bleach and water spray(thoughts?). What do you guys think of KILZ? Was considering priming with that to seal anything nasty into the wood, but I don't like using chemicals if I don't have to.
My wife and I finally found the right piece of land! We got 5 acres at the edge of civilization. Our property is about 20 minutes east of Duvall and a 1 hour drive from Seattle. We are in the foothills at 900ft elevation southwest facing with potential views to the Olympics. There are about 30 fruit trees on the property, a seasonal creek that gathers runnoff from uphill and feeds it into 2 man made farm irrigation ponds and then carries it off the property to the north We share our eastern boundary with DNR public forest land that goes on and on. We are super excited to get all of your input and ideas as we build our home and begin to cultivate our own eden. We are currently taking the preliminary steps necessary to apply for a construction loan. I (purposeful pronoun change) would love to just move out and live in the cabins that are on the property, but King county doesn't allow you to live on your land without a Certificate of Occupancy. We also see this as our first real investment towards retirement, so we want to build a semi-traditional home on the property for the sake of resale value if it ever comes to that. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a small novel worth of pictures. Please let us know what you think.
I appreciate that perspective Kyrt, thank you. Like Glenn said, anyone else who buys the land will do the same and I will hopefully be a better steward than others.
The enthusiasts are the neighbors, and I don't know them. I have talked to 2 of them and one warned against letting the community know about any building I want to do because they might try to block it. There are lots of houses around the lake and the property I am looking at is on the south side of the the only access which is why I called the road major. Way more traffic than I would have expected for the location.
I worry about what Shawn is saying. I do plan to go the way of forest gardening, but I would like to get good sun in my zone 1 at least. While the property does slope gently south, the trees are majestic and tall. I bet I could do the math and figure out how much land I would have to clear for a sunny homesite, but until I do I worry about how much I might have to take out. I am no stranger to hard work, but the bank will want a full accounting of what it will cost me to hire everything done.
I am arranging to meet an environmental consultant up there to walk the property and get an idea of possible usable areas. I will check in with you all after that and let you know if I am going to move forward. Thanks for all your input!
Also, I am struggling morally with the amount that I must clear to create any permaculture systems. Should I be looking for depleted and bare land that I can try to nurse back to health rather than moving into an established ecosystem and making nature my bitch? Even if I strive to minimize it, a certain level is inevitable.
So, it's definitely going to have wetlands delineation on up to 5 acres. I hope that's all. None of the leg work has been done. Lots of wildlife presure in the form of bears, dear(ofcourse) and most definitely more. Also political presure in the fact that I would be buying into a community of wildlife enthusiasts. Of which I ofcourse am one, but I am also an outsider and any homestead will require the clearance of whatever minimum diameter the local regulations dictate for the trailer I am planning to put on it. I would love feedback on that. I am choosing to look at it as recycling since I can only afford used. I have an idea of many of the costs, but not all. How much does it cost to clear land? I know I can bring it down by doing lots of work myself, but the bank won't loan to me unless I can qualify for the amount it will cost to hire it all done. Anyway, thanks for all your input. I shoudl be asleep.
My wife and I have been searching for land to homestead for a while now and a piece has come to my attention that I really like the location of, but I am not sure about the geographical features. I will be going out with a machete to create some trails with the agents permission this weekend and will take pictures, but here are the basics.
The land is boardered by major public roads on the north and west. It is a 10 acre rectangle that is cut neatly in half by a creek that flows under the north road. Each side of the creek is a roughly square 5 acres. The whole parcel slopes south and the east side slopes west and the west side slopes east. The property is a valley.
From this description does any have any red flags that I should be considering? I will post the pictures on sunday or early week.
Thanks to any who take the time to read and reply.
Roger- Thank you for the heads up! I had mentioned the idea to a loan officer, but at the time I was only looking for a land loan and the topic only came up in passing. Went back and talked to someone about getting a construction loan and you are absolutely right, can't finance the pole barn idea. Damn.
Nicole- Thank you SOOO much! Your post has been incredibly helpful. And yes, we are interested in coming out to look at the parcel near you. To be honest we are really hoping to get more than 5 acres, but having like minded neighbors would be amazing. Its great that there are other properties as well, my best friend is hoping to buy an adjoining parcel to me. He is not as much of a permie as I am, but he has the right mindset and I am working to convert him. ;o)~ We may actually be in your area this weekend and the next weekend to look at 20 acres up on woods creek rd. Would not mind going to look at the property near you. I am concerned about the well, but not the road. I grew up on a shared private road. Definitely a pain in the ass, but not a deal breaker.
So... Now I am revising my plans based on the financing revelations. Gonna peruse the forums for info on green contractors, input on used mobile homes, other options. Any input, ideas, or pointing in the right direction would be welcome.
Thanks again for the replies! Will try to be more active in responding quickly. Was honestly a bit of a depressing weak after the meeting with the loan officer. Oh well, on to newer and better ideas!
Oops! I lied! I forgot I posted a question about WVO systems when I was first looking at coming home and acquiring a Vehicle. Didn't end up following through with anything though since I was gifted a 91 civic hatchback that is still running strong. Hope to be able to take advantage of this communities knowledge in that area when I inevitably need to look for a new vehicle. For now though, LAND!
Long time lurker, first time poster. My wife and I recently (1 1/2 years ago) returned to the USA from traveling and living abroad. Permaculture became a theme in our lives throughout our traveling experiences and we, like yourselves feel that this is the way people were meant to live. We are currently looking for land to homestead somewhere around Seattle. We plan to be outside King County, though we are trying to stay as close to the city as possible. Sadly, as with most everyone, we are restrained by financial factors. Our absolute max mortgage would be ~200,000 and that would have to include an initial simple home. I am currently considering a pole barn with a small apartment inside.
I am reaching out to all of you, both to introduce myself, and to ask for any help/advice you might have to give us in finding and acquiring such a parcel. I have been slowly searching through the forums for helpful information, but I know so many of you have been through this before and while I continue the arduous process of research and self-education, i would be remiss if I didn't also attempt to make life easier on myself by asking for input.
I will continue to post as specific questions come up, for now, does anyone have any land for sale nearish Seattle or know of any? ~
What types of features would you suggest we look for?
Currently we are looking for sloped land, preferably south facing, partially forested, partially clear and preferably with some sort of water, year round creek maybe?
Gonna keep this short for now. Thanks for taking the time to read and reply!
My friend told me about this company, It looks pretty legit. He has this setup on his own truck on the east coast. Just wondering if anyone here has any experience or insights to share on this sort of thing. I don't think it is a bio-diesel system, it seems to be a system to run your truck on straight vegetable oil. Thanks for any thoughts.