Marco Banks wrote:You can still walk the land and get a greater sense for its potential, even with snow on the ground.
1. What's the soil like? Dig down and get a sense for what you will be working with. Is it well-draining?
2. Is there a slope? How much? Is it south facing? Any naturally occurring earthworks (rock/stone outcroppings), gullies, hills and dales . . . etc.
3. What evidence is there of water on the property? Is there a well or a spring? Is there currently a pond or any other water features? Will you be able to dig swales and other water capturing earthworks? Are there wetlands on the property (which can be a pain in the ass to deal with if you want to move things around with earthmoving equipment --- environmental no no's)?
4. Will you be able to subdivide it naturally into paddocks, gardens, etc.? Is there some evidence of that already?
5. Is there any evidence of environmental remediation needed? Erosion? Toxic junk?
6. Have they been farming it or gardening on the land?
Before you buy the property, talk to whomever it would be that would issue a building permit. You shouldn't have to guess at this --- get a clear answer. Don't take the realtor's word for it.
Talk to the neighbors. What are they like? Is there a sense of community with the others on the road? Any wierdos or crack-pots?
One last thought: it seems you might have already fallen in love with the property, and as we all know, love is blind. Is there someone else who can walk the property with you and have a more objective perspective on things? You want someone knowledgeable in permaculture or homesteading if that is your ultimate aim (which, I assume, is what your desire is because you are posting this on Permies). Walk the land with them once or twice and get a view of the land through their eyes. Perhaps even map it as you walk the land, so when you go home, you'll be able to noodle on your maps. Take tons of pictures, print them, and attach them to your map.
Maybe you'll get a warm snap and that snow will melt for you.
Best of luck.
Mike Jay wrote:If there aren't any wetlands on the property and it looks as high and dry as the neighbors, it sounds like it's buildable.
I wonder if having bedrock so near the surface may make the foundation for your cordwood house easier than usual. Just find a big chunk of bedrock and build up from there. No need to go down 5' if the rock the house sits on goes down 20'.
If there are lots of black spruce then the land may be wetter than you think.
Lisa Gergets wrote:Well, I'm not sure where this topic goes, so I'm just going to smack it down here, where all my other questions reside.
We are very close to making an offer on a 5 acre piece of property. The thing is, there is still at least two feet of snowpack still on the ground, and that land won't see the light of day again until late May/early June.
There are several neighbors on this private road...this is the only land for sale on the road. So clearly, the land is buildable, right?
This land is...well, have you ever fallen in love? It was like that when we went to visit this parcel. It is everything we want and nothing we don't.
Would we be making a huge mistake by making an offer when we can't truly see the layout of the land yet? My instinct says, mistake. My heart says, do it.