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Finding and Buying Land(or "fixers") in Western Washington  RSS feed

 
Eliza Keeley
Posts: 15
Location: Western Washington Zone 8a
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Hello Permies,

This is my first post, but I've been reading for over a year now. My husband and I are in the midst of our search for a parcel to call home. There is one in particular that has caught our attention and I've been doing research about it, including visits to the county planning office and what not. It is beautiful and its features match our priorities very well (great southeastern exposure, forest surrounding, water on site, gently sloped, etc). It has been partially logged, though no septic or well. I admit I feel conflicted about this. I am somewhat reluctant to "punch a new hole in the ground", out of respect for the natural world. We have also looked at properties with "fixers" or dilapidated homes with functional well and septic. I have concerns about all the trouble involved with deconstructing a home and dealing with the junk materials and potential contamination of the soil (and air during deconstruction). However there is a finite amount of land in this world, and we can't all turn away from homes on acreage that have been neglected or abused.
I'm hoping this post can open a conversation around my questions for all of you:

What is your opinion on the developing of a "new" parcel vs. fixing up/removing already built structures and rebuilding on the foundation?

Is it common for homesteaders to make it to a somewhat completed home and then sell or barter or otherwise pass along what they've started? I wonder if anyone gets past the trouble of well and septic, gets started on a home and then burns out or something...

Are there any permie-oriented resources to help homestead sellers and buyers find eachother? (outside of the real estate agent box?) I'm in the South Puget Sound/Peninsula area.

If there are any existing posts you feel are relevant, please post the link, I have been searching....

I am happy to be part of the permies community, and look forward to reading your opinions!

~Eliza


 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3981
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
166
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Welcome to permies Eliza!
The land has already been logged? Then I look at it as though it is not really old growth forest. Seems like a good permaculture person would actually be a help to mother nature there.

If it has everything you are looking for and you can afford it I say go for it.

Are you saying you are worried that you will get started on it and then may discover that it is not really your thing? Then are worried about being able to sell it?
 
Eliza Keeley
Posts: 15
Location: Western Washington Zone 8a
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Thanks for the encouragement!

The land was partially logged. There is a cleared building site and driveway(no gravel). There is a small wetland on the down slope with a seasonal creek flowing through a culvert under the private easement road (gravelled). There are about 5 long piles of slash (future hugelkulture if it becomes ours!). There are still a few large deciduous trees and lots of conifers around the edges and the wetland. The undergrowth is well established native veg. Though I think I spotted a couple invasives. Most likely this parcel will end up with more "holes in the ground" anyway, so it might as well be permaculturists to minimize the impact. I am not worried that we will give up and want to sell, this has been a dream for each of us practically forever and we have a good idea of what we are getting into I was asking as a buyer. I think it might be cool to find a homestead that someone else gave up on and see it through. But I figure since those projects might be in permitting limbo or just look messy those sellers might not go through a real estate agent and instead rely on word of mouth...or forums maybe? craigslist is overrun by spammers. It might be neat if permies had a "land for sale" forum...though maybe that leads to problems. We most likely will move forward with the parcel we've found, but we aren't closing our options yet.

Does anyone out there know of any permaculture real estate classifieds?

I guess my real hesitation with the undevelopled land is that I have a hang up about this whole country being "stolen land" and so the ethics of selling and buying land and then digging wells and such is a moral dilemma for me. I realize that simply dwelling on it won't make for positive change, but I would love to open the discussion of ways to mitigate past harm (invasion of the land, sectioning off, and selling within a select minority). This is part of my motivation to cultivate a food forest. But maybe this is a topic for one of the other forums...
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4145
Location: Missoula, MT
388
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Eliza Keeley wrote:Are there any permie-oriented resources to help homestead sellers and buyers find eachother? (outside of the real estate agent box?) I'm in the South Puget Sound/Peninsula area.

I think posting here is a great place to start. Some areas have meetup or other groups for more local resources to find people.

For example, Seattle has the Seattle Permaculture Guild Meetup which sometimes has e-mails to the group about permie rentals or homes for sale. Search Meetup.com for similar in Tacoma or Olympia. Also check http://goscallops.org/ and Transition Town groups in the area.

Good luck!
 
Wayne Mackenzie
Posts: 115
Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,400' Zone 8a
1
greening the desert
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Make sure you do your homework. Washington is tough when it comes to protecting it's wetlands.
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