Earlier this week, we were driving around wasting gas, something we rarely do, seeing what there was to see when we spotted the faded for sale sign almost completely obscured by the grass along the side of the road. The tract of land was thirteen and a half acres with trees around three of the four sides and a nice big hill right in the middle with a two-track gravel path winding from the road to the top of the hill. We drove to the top of the hill and found the view outstanding. There was a nice flat spot on top to build a nice little house and barn, you had plenty of trees around you with some open ground that although unfarmable, could probably make a nice pasture. It was close to the town where I work and seemed like a perfect place to call home someday in the future.
I am not in the market for land to build a home and won't be until sometime in the future when my wife's career has stabilized. But since the sign as so old and faded and the economy still in the dumps, I thought I might call them up to see if there was a deal to be had. If the price was right, we might be able to scrape together the money and just own the land as an investment with perhaps the intention to build on it someday. My wife scraped the grass from the sign, wrote down the number and we went home.
The next day, I used my cyber snooping skills to find out the owner of the land but it was a name I didn't recognize. I did discover that on the backside of the hill was a large section of land that had been bought up and was being turned into a subdivision of houses. I suspected that the owner of the land on the side of the hill I was interested in was probably trying to cash in on this development but I didn't know how right my suspicions had been until I received a phone mail from the guy later on in the day. I was told that it was for sale, the site was 13.5 acres and although he was entertaining any offers, he was asking $185,000 for the land.
Golly gee, only $13,703.70 per acre! What a deal. Maybe if he had been asking $3000 per acre which is what prime farmland in this area goes for or $2000 an acre which is what good timberland with recreational possibilities goes for, neither of which this land comes close to qualifying for, I might have called him back and made him an offer in my price range but this guy was so far off on a different planet, I didn't even waste my time. The development on the backside of the hill had the fortune only to sell a few high priced lots before the economy bubble burst and the other lots are on the market for about $5000 per acre and have remained unsold for over a year now. Perhaps in five years or so when we are ready to make our move, I'll go pick up the rotting remains of that guys sign and give him another call if I can make out the phone number and see what he is down too in price. That or perhaps I'll just offer to give him any gold that he obviously thinks is under the surface if he would sell it at a reasonable price.