The Old Farmhouse
Of Our Dreams
(An Update)

Dateline: 11 June 2014

Back in November of last year (seven months ago), I blogged about The Old Farmhouse of Our Dreams. I showed lots of pictures of the run-down house and property on two acres of land that is down the road a short way from where we now live. We had agreed on a price with the owners and gave a deposit with the official purchase offer. All that remained to be done was get a survey, make sure there was a clear title, and get the lawyers to do their thing. I expected it would all come together in the spring.

Over the winter I concluded that the old house with its leaking roof of just-plywood (with little scraps of tar paper clinging here and there) was probably too far gone to remodel into the farmhouse of our dreams. But it was not too far gone to turn it into a barn-like workshop/warehouse that I could start using right away for my Planet Whizbang business. 

Planet Whizbang is currently being run out of a shop that is smaller than the average two-car garage. I’m significantly hampered by a lack of space.

The big old house, with it’s solid post-and-beam frame would be an excellent (and affordable) solution to my lack of room. For less than the cost of a mid-priced new pickup truck, I could buy the property, put a good roof on the house, clean out all the trash, and have ten times the square footage of workshop and storage area that I now operate my business with. 

The big lawn with full-sun exposure would give me at least four times the garden area I now have on my 1.5 acre homestead. The layout of the property would accommodate  a retirement home for Marlene and I at a later date. These things (and more) added up to an ideal situation.

But it looks like it’s not going to happen. 

According to my attorney there is a holdup because of issues with the title. There may be liens on the property. He wasn’t too optimistic about the deal going through any time soon, if ever.  

At this point, my guess is that the owners will not pay the taxes on the property. If that is the case, it will go up for auction by the county in three years. By then, with a severely leaking roof, the house will probably be beyond salvaging.

Marlene and I are disappointed but not real disappointed. We’ve been through this sort of thing in the past and we have the same attitude now as we did then. We believe that God orchestrates the events of our lives and He knows better than us what is right and best. We are content with that.

Though the analogy may be a bit silly, I look at this like a child going through the checkout lane at the grocery store with his father. The child is looking at all the candy that is always positioned in those places. The child sees a candy bar that looks particularly good and asks his father if he will buy the candy bar for him. The father looks at it, thinks about it a moment, and says:  “No, you don’t need that.” 

We all know that some kids get upset and even make a scene in such a scenario. But I’m not one of those kinds of kids. The fact is, as nice as I think it might be to have that candy bar property, I really don’t need it.

So we will wait and see if anything develops in the next few months. If nothing positive happens by the end of the year, I’ll get the deposit back and keep my eyes open for other possibilities.


One more thing. it's a little off topic but I want to pass on something of interest that my attorney told me. He says that credit card companies are now putting liens on houses. This is evidently something new. Also, I've read articles about people who are now being put in jail for not paying their bills. This Article is one of several on the internet about the return of "debtor's prisons."  


You Can Call Me Jane said...

I'm sorry about the farm but am so encouraged by your attitude about it. And I loved your checkout analogy- spot on:-).

Leigh said...

I'm sorry to hear this isn't going to work out too. I do agree about God's sovereignty in our lives, but that doesn't mean disappointment doesn't come along with it.

jean said...

The Lord works in mysterious ways and always for His glory and our benefit. One never knows what He may bring about for you both, Herrick, and I'm glad to know you know how wonderfully He works in our lives.
What you mentioned in your last paragraph on your attorney's info to you brought to mind something on youtube my husband and I watched. I don't know if you would be interested in the current money situation in the world or maybe you already know of this but in case you are interested, if you go to youtube and type in "silver & gold - hidden secrets of money Ep 1 - currency vs money - mike maloney" it will bring up a very interesting perspective on what is happening globally with the money system. If this is true, we are in for a very bumpy ride.

Cj said...

Good call! God can be like that sometimes. When my wife and I were first married, we truly needed a new (to us) vehicle. We found a nice truck, but couldn't afford it and he, the seller, wouldn't come down the $500. He wanted us to back-date a check for the $500...

"Um, let me think about tha... NO!"

I told him we'd call him back when we had saved the money. My wife freaked out thinking somebody else would "get it before we do!"

Three weeks later I met him at the Title Bureau and purchased it for the $500 less I had offered previously.

God know's what He's doing... so as I said, good call!

Anonymous said...

Herrick, I recommend you contact your lawyer and ask if you can purchase any of the tax liens. Some states allow this. When the lien forecloses, you own the property. There may be a redemption period but you can tarp the roof while you are waiting. Just a suggestion.

Warren said...


Would it be worth purchasing a large tarp for a couple hundred dollars to spread over the whole roof? You could nail it down on the edges with strips of wood and I imagine it would hold pretty well. Might need to be replaced one a year, depending on the quality. Could be a cheap way to maintain the current value without a big investment.

deb harvey said...

i had the tarpaulin thought , too.
interesting about being able to buy the liens. wouldn't do it without attorney's say-so.

the return of debtor's prison is no surprise to me.
thought of it years ago.
people will always push against the limits until they reach a point where they can get away with murder.
also wondering if our nation will sink so low that you or your children could be sold into literal slavery for debt.

read some time ago that credit card companies wanted legislation which would force debt to be heritable.
so if you die impoverished your relatives can go to jail for your debts.
lovely, isn't it?

haven't heard more about it so it was probably quashed, but it doesn't mean the evil doers have given up. they never give up.
opens the door for wonderful scams, like medicare fraud, where someone falsely bills your estate for something bogus and your heirs pay through the nose for nothing.
evil abounds.
deb h.

Herrick Kimball said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I thought of the tarp on the roof idea last fall and did some internet research on tarps,(reading customer reviews of different ones). I came to the conclusion that the cheap tarps wouldn't hold up for several months (not to mention years) with UV breakdown and wind. The better quality tarps to cover that many SF of area were surprisingly expensive.

As far as liens go, there are no tax liens. The taxes are paid up. But, without going into details, I know that the owners are not likely to keep paying the taxes on a run-down property that they have little chance of making any money from by selling (because of other liens). If the taxes are not paid on a property in this county for three years, the county sells it at auction.

Mike R. said...

Herrick, If God wanted you to own that house it would be yours. Obviously, he has a different plan for you. I had someone ask me,"If God wanted you to do something why doesn't he just make it happen?" Obviously this is coming from the perspective of someone without God in their life. My answer was, "If God just did everything for us, our existence would be pointless and life would lack purpose." Do you agree?

Anonymous said...

Another option to the lien/tarp idea I posted is to put together your war chest to purchase the property at auction in three years. Contact your local roofer and offer to purchase left over tar paper rolls from his jobs--he may give them to you for free if you promise him the roof job. Couple of local kids and nail guns (safety harness) and about $250 should cover it. Use the heaviest paper available. May not last the full three years, but something better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

Can you offer some small amount to the owners to quit claim their interests, then pay off or otherwise discharge the liens?