After much deliberation, we decided to jump in head-first and make an offer on the land we found Vermont. The sellers were asking $69,000, so we offered $50,000. A day later, they countered with $63,000, and we countered their counter-offer with $57,000. Our high-stakes haggling came to an end with the sellers' "take it or leave it" concession of $60,000. That was right where I was expecting we'd end up, so we accepted!
Immediately after we agreed on a price, we had to enter a contract with the sellers, formally consenting to go through with the purchase. The documents we signed legally oblige us to buy the property, and prevent the sellers from taking a better offer, should one come along. After we autographed and initialled approximately ten pieces of paper, we finalized the process by sending a $3,000 deposit to the realtor (which will go towards the purchase at closing).
Yikes. This is getting real!
Hedging our bets, I asked our realtor, Bonnie, to put a condition in the contract stating that our purchase would be contingent upon the land supporting a septic system. We can't build our home on the land without one of these state-mandated system in place (regardless of whether or not we'll use it—we plan to have composting toilets and environmentally safe greywater). Assuming everything checks out, we'll be closing on the 15th of September!
When I really examine what we're doing, as opposed to daydreaming about having a little place in the woods, I'm sobered by the enormity of what we're aiming to do. This is not going to be a walk in the park. Rather than let myself be overwhelmed by everything we don't know right now, I'm focusing my energies on work. If we're going to pay for this eventual purchase as quickly as we'd like to, I'll be spending a lot of long days behind a computer in the coming year.
Time to buckle down. Fingers crossed everything works out!