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Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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So I looked at 175 acres property on Friday. It meets all of criteria, but one.

It is extremely well located: 10 min from town, 2 min from a friend's farm; it has lots of texture, has not been sprayed in years, has tons of hardwood (some of the largest shagbark hickories I have seen) including lots of sugar maple. A good portion of it is overgrown pastures with some actual pastures left. There is a small marsh at the back, good road access, etc.

The only catch is that it is way above our price range.

I have considered some ideas on how to finance the place without slaving ourselves to a huge debt but at this point I think I need some ideas from you guys.

Here is the listing: http://www.rtcr.com/listing1517-kingston--land-property-for-sale-2382--middle-road
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hmmm...first thing that comes to mind you may not like...

Develope part of the property (natural building methods like timber frames) and use this money to develop the rest as a permaculture center...
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Yeah, I thought about something like that. One of the reasons the place is so expensive is because of real estate development pressure. It is quite common for landowners in that area to sever ~2 ac lots and sell to build houses.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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oops, pressed submit before being done typing.

All of the options I thought of would involve making a business plan and trying to get investors. This would be great, but I just cannot see where I would find time to write a business plan.

Maybe I just need to let this place go and continue piling my grubs to buy something more reasonably priced.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Adrien,

If there is that type of "building pressure," in that area you may have a chance of making this work. I agree that for some, preparing a business plan is daunting...don't let it be. It is like any other task. Yes...you must take a step back and consider the entirety of it, which when looked at that way is very scary...as many things can be. Just like any other journey though, you only achieve it my small steps, and that is where the real focus must be...Done this way, with a simple outline of your business plan, you start to write one word at a time. A nice one should take about two weeks of evening writing for a novice.

Now there are other venue to consider. If the Forest have marketable trees which could have also elevated the price, that fiscal resource must be consider as well. Many folks hat cutting a single tree (I am one of them...it just bugs me...) However, I have come to learn that trees are no different than any other crop I harvest...they just grow slower. Properly done, you can open up parts of the land and perhaps recoup $30K to $40K in the process if the trees are of higher grade, such as the hickories you described.

Skill sets also separate one permaculturist plan from another, and if you have limited skill sets and limited funds that is going to be harder. Usually for a bit jump into something you have to have "skill or the money to purchase it." If you don't have either...then you must take time to develop both. Is there a place to live on the property? What resource development tools may you have access to or own? (e.g. logging equipment, saw mill, heavy equipment experience? How fare outside your fiscal means is the property?

Regards,

j
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Thanks for the ideas Jay
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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You are most welcome Adrien,

Please let me know if I can answer more specifics or offer additional info/advice.

Good luck! the land looks special with huge potential!!
 
Adrien Lapointe
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yeah, I would hate to see it go to developers, although it is still a little beyond the areas under development right now.
 
R Scott
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Lesson I have learned: Do NOT stretch yourself to buy the land. Even if it has all the infrastructure in place, the startup costs are steep and I would have been better off spending less on land and more on earthworks and trees.

If you can make a Mark Shepard plan work for you, do it. But don't stretch it before you even start.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Is it possible to line up lease(s) for part (or all?) of the land before you purchase? Maybe you've already thought of this. Ideally, the lease(s) would be for the type of farming or holistic management animal systems that would increase the land's fertility, though I imagine some agro-tourism (corn mazes and pumpkin patches come to mind this time of year!) could be a fit as well.

 
Adrien Lapointe
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Renting for grazing is definitely a possibility since there is good permanent fencing in place in many area. Although from what I have seen in this area the cost of renting pasture land is pretty low (~$1000/yr for 50 acres of pasture).

The initial idea that got me to even consider the place was to sever some building lots to finance the rest of the place. Since I don't really like how housing development happens now, I was thinking of something more permaculture-like and maybe more akin to an eco-village.

So I guess I am looking for some sort of virtual brainstorming session.
 
John Gratrick
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Location: Mallorytown Zone 5a
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Hi Adrien

The main problem is right as you called it, they want to develop the land around middle road due to the military base and the proposed 3rd crossing. If you are after land, i checked on realtor and came across this http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?PropertyId=14798545 . its vacant but sounds decent for the price they are asking, considering tha area. Nothing listed for pasturable area but in 23 acres there's gotta be something
 
Adrien Quenneville
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Location: Alexandria, ON, Zone 4a
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A few things come to mind:

1) Why hasn't it been severed already, if common to be severed in the area? I can see a few reasons.

a)The owner is trying to get rid of it fast, trying to make a quick buck, or tried to, then realized that severing was probably going to be a bad idea. I'm sure RT would've suggested it to the owner, they're a big influential RE firm. This can be used to your advantage to offer a lower price. Also, your offer can be lowered as the time on the market increases, as always.

b)Limited severance capability. That landscape there has a steep slope facing the SE, if my memory of the area serves me right. [Probably] only the pastureland would be suitable for severance, and then if you did sever and start that eco-village, you'd have to use the most valuable area, or sever the less desirable plots, resulting in less money for the plots.


2) In order to make it work, you'd need to make $2,800 of profit per month to pay the mortgage (3.5%, 550k mortgage), plus a bit more for insurance, taxes, and your own personal time on the property developing and cultivating it. For the sake of a round number, $3,500 just for basic, and $5000 so you can pay yourself a bit. Can you see ways to make this kind of money?

Volunteer labour would probably be your best bet at first. Multiple streams of income definitely. Grazing, selective logging - the deadfall and elms could bring in a fair bit-, mushrooms. Rent out some plots in the forest for RVs/tent trailers. Outdoors meeting areas, fall wedding venues. Hunting leases in the fall - the marsh in the north half, as well as the pond, should help attract waterfowl. Tree seeds and seedlings. Graze organic or beyond organic pigs in the woods. At 200lbs dry weight, you'd need around 25-30/year to make a large dent in your payments, but maybe the land can't support it.

Can you afford to spend some of your leftover monthly income from your current job to maybe supplement the mortgage payments in lean years? Do you have the time for this enterprise? If you go all-in, can your significant other support both of you. Do you have the connections, if you have the time to do all of these things, to help you market and sell these products?

If you do get in this enterprise, I'm willing to help in any way I can, living 2 hours away and all. Look into vendor financing, or "rent-to-own". Look at how you can use your neighbours and your friend's farm to help. There's that big compost facility on Joyceville Rd opposite your property. Horse farm on the NE corner of the Joyceville/Middle Rds intersection. Heck, even the Husky gas station by the 401. Make a business plan. Look for government grants, a multitude of microloans from family and friends. Consider incorporating.

If this seems too much, and you can't find enough financial help to make it work, consider John's post with the property on Con 4. Just 5 clicks further away.

Ok, my brain is fried now, if I can think of anything else, I'll let you know.

AQ
 
Barry Fitzgerald
Posts: 43
Location: Welland, Ontario, Canada
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John Gratrick wrote:Hi Adrien

The main problem is right as you called it, they want to develop the land around middle road due to the military base and the proposed 3rd crossing. If you are after land, i checked on realtor and came across this http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?PropertyId=14798545 . its vacant but sounds decent for the price they are asking, considering tha area. Nothing listed for pasturable area but in 23 acres there's gotta be something

I like the property that you found John. It seems like a great deal depending on the future of the access by the logging road. 23 acres is a more manageable size and the list price and taxes make it real affordable, leaving more resources to turn it into what you want.
To Adrien: Do you have the $600,000 or will you need to finance part of this? I have found you can not get a mortgage on vacant land from conventional sources.
Best of luck on what ever you decide.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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Wow, thanks everybody for the feedback.

I would have to seek financing and I do know that most banks are scared of loans for vacant land. I was told by a loan agent that they have nothing to secure the loan with vacant land... On the other hand, some banks will lend money at a ridiculous rate if you have 50% down payment. That is why I was seeking ideas. It would need to be bought as part of business and I would need investors.

I had seen the listing for the 23 acres but discarded it because it looked like it was way too close to the 401 (the busiest highway in Canada) and also really close to a really busy rail corridor where a lot of oil transits. On the other hand, now that I read the description (logging road access) it seems that the map location might not be exact. I will have to inquire since the price is so good.

As far as the 50 acres on Wolfe Island, I have driven by it and it is an empty field in the middle of other empty fields that are beaten by the wind. This is not so much a problem, but we are not too enamoured with the idea of living among the windmills (for our own reasons). There was another property on the other side of the island that we almost bought, but we waited too long and it got pulled off the market.

Adrien you are totally right, I would need to make sure that the cashflow would be there to pay for the big property. It looks like there is lots of potential for businesses such as grazing animals, maple syrup, hickory/acorn finished pigs, hunting, fishing, orchards, lumber, etc. The limiting factor for me is time. With my full time job at the moment, I can only devote so much time to projects.

Maybe doing something like Paul's deep root could be an option. I think it is hard to develop all the potential of a piece of property with just one family. It takes a village to be sustainable and it is hard for people to commit when they don't have stakes into the land base.
 
Adrien Quenneville
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Location: Alexandria, ON, Zone 4a
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:I had seen the listing for the 23 acres but discarded it because it looked like it was way too close to the 401 (the busiest highway in Canada) and also really close to a really busy rail corridor where a lot of oil transits. On the other hand, now that I read the description (logging road access) it seems that the map location might not be exact. I will have to inquire since the price is so good.

and

There was another property on the other side of the island that we almost bought, but we waited too long and it got pulled off the market.


1st: Just drove past it yesterday afternoon. Could not for the life of me find the property on Con 4. No signage. Definitely contact the realtor. If the MLS map is correct, the property is liable to get gobbled up if the 401 expands to 6 lanes.

2nd: The other property on Wolfe: Ownership should be a matter of public record, since tax records should be out there. Do some research, and contact the owner anyways. I hear some good deals can be made that way...
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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Thanks Adrien,

where do you go to look at the tax record? Is it usually online or do you have to go to the county's office?
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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turns out that the property on Con 4 is landlocked, hence why it is not visible from the road.
property.PNG
[Thumbnail for property.PNG]
 
Ed Johnson
Posts: 86
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
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Check out the Farm Credit Canada and the "Young Farmer Loan". Terms are excellent (comparatively), need a business and some down. It's a whole lot better than private financing.

I'm working on approval myself.
 
John Gratrick
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Location: Mallorytown Zone 5a
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Adrien Lapointe
I had seen the listing for the 23 acres but discarded it because it looked like it was way too close to the 401 (the busiest highway in Canada) and also really close to a really busy rail corridor where a lot of oil transits. On the other hand, now that I read the description (logging road access) it seems that the map location might not be exact. I will have to inquire since the price is so good.


Being along the highway isn't that bad. My property out in Mallorytown is right along the highway. The noise isn't that bad and if it gets worse, I'll do what Paul recommended in one of his podcasts "Berm baby, Berm!" I look at the highway as an easier way to get lots of property for less money. Whats the area you are willing to be in e.g. commute time etc. Maybe someone knows someone willing to section off part of their existing farm.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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That is a good point. I am keeping my eyes open (and ears).
 
Micky Ewing
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:
Maybe doing something like Paul's deep root could be an option. I think it is hard to develop all the potential of a piece of property with just one family. It takes a village to be sustainable and it is hard for people to commit when they don't have stakes into the land base.


You may be onto something there Adrien. I've given some thought to Paul's project in Missoula, but as a Canadian, a long term commitment would be complicated by visa requirements, tax laws and who knows what else. The whole picture changes if there is a Canadian equivalent.

Regarding the particular property you posted about, it's hard to see something that holds so much promise and not grab it. I had similar tantalizing prospects during my property search. If you end up with a big debt though, you may be pushed to make uncomfortable decisions by the incessant need to service it. Decisions such as cutting down those big maples and hickories for the wood instead of harvesting the sap and nuts from them. You'd be wise to take your time with your search. Be flexible. Getting fixated on a gorgeous acreage that is out of your price range is a bit like being infatuated with an unavailable woman (or man). It can get you into real trouble if you lose your head.

 
Adrien Lapointe
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I kind of forgot about the place for a while and was not even considering it anymore. One day my wife and I decided to go walk it again and try to think of a way we might be able to make it work. We parked in the driveway of the dilapidated house and walked up through the sugar bush to the fields near the pond only to find out that they had bulldozed all the topsoil and got the place ready to be sold as a building site for a really large commercial building or a subdivision. It was a really sad sight, so it is now out.

I do agree though that we would have over-extended ourselves with such a purchase. Still looking.
 
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