Whirlwind Week

Sun sets over Lake Michigan
The sun sets over Lake Michigan

Whirlwind is the only way to describe this last week. Our offer on the land was accepted last Saturday, and barring any problems, we should close by the end of September. We’ll then be the proud owners of 2 acres of land 2,300 miles from home! Some moments I think we must be mad and it’s easy to get lost in worries for the future. How on earth are we going to save to build the house? What sort of home do we build? How do we leave California? What the hell am I going to do for a job? How do we fly the dog there for a visit at Christmas? How the mind spirals if I let it! To counter those thoughts, I imagine the view of the lake through the lush green trees, and the heavenly idea of one day waking up to that in my own bedroom, in my own house, that my husband and I built. The rest will work itself out.

Having never purchased any sort of real estate before, it’s also been an interesting week of learning. I had no idea what made up closing costs. What was title insurance? Who knew it was important for rural land to “perc”? I certainly didn’t think I’d ever be paying money to a soil erosion expert.

The title search has been cleared, so the person we are buying the land from is indeed the owner and there are no unpaid taxes, liens or other issues with the property. The title company is ready to issue a title insurance policy, meaning in the unlikely event of future problems, at least our initial investment is insured. Title insurance is one of the closing costs typically covered by the seller, but although we wouldn’t negotiate our offer, we did agree to pay the seller’s closing costs (with a cap of course) in addition to our own.

A perc test (AKA perk test or even a percolation test) evaluates the rate at which water drains through the soil. This is crucial information when thinking about installing a septic system. If the land didn’t perc, we wouldn’t be able to build a house. Fortunately, our land (well – soon to be ours) percs very nicely. This is thanks to soil that is loamy sand from 6″ to 7′ below the 0″-6″ of topsoil. Water drains beautifully through sand. Again, not something I’d ever paid attention to!

Speaking of soil, the next big event is our soil evaluation next week. The county expert visits the land for an erosion assessment, then our builder will provide us a cost estimate of what we’ll need to do to manage drainage over the couple of years before we’re ready to build. We suspect this will be nothing more than crushed concrete on the driveway to prevent washout, and perhaps a silt fence as an erosion control on the large berm. But, our offer on the land is contingent on a positive inspection as well as the builder giving a final OK that the land is in good shape to eventually build.

Pelicans over the Pacific
Pelicans over the Pacific

An exciting whirlwind of activity, and we’re grateful to our team of experts in the local area who are handling so much of the legwork on our behalf. We’re also grateful to receive beautiful pictures of sunsets on the bay, which are equally as majestic as those we currently enjoy over the Pacific.