Posted by: Scott McCullough | March 8, 2011

Buying the Forest

When we found this plot of land in Wilmot, NH we thought it may have been too good to be true.  Every other piece of land that we had looked at was either in a development, used and abused, or just not worth the price being asked.  What we were looking for was a good size parcel of land either wooded or pastoral, that was at least 15 acres, and located near family and friends.   This one seemed to be almost perfect.   It was nearly 43 acres, in a good location, with mountain views and a seasonal brook running through it.

It was an easy decision to at least contact the listing agent for more information and to take a walk through the land.  We got some additional site plan info about the parcel and the ok to go ahead and explore.  Walking the perimeter of the property turned into a family event and took nearly two hours.  The land was varied and pretty heavily wooded, and other than the roadside, there was only one location on the perimeter where you could even see another house.  It took some deciphering and several turnarounds to find the property boundaries.  After getting the feel of the place, Jess and I were excited to find that this was something we were actually interested in.

Reading further into the property documentation we saw that there were covenants that the previous owner had enacted.  Of course there was a catch, there always is.  The covenants listed a number of restrictions including the number of animals that were allowed, forbidden signage, subdivision regulations, and logging.  We thought that this was sort of odd, especially in New Hampshire where people greatly valued their freedom, and generally didn’t push restrictions on others.  But after considering things we realized that if these restrictions hadn’t been put in place, this piece of property might have been sold a long time ago.  It could have been purchased by a logger/developer, stripped of all its’ timber and divided up into small lots and sold piecemeal.  Something that happens all the time to old farms, and large tracts of forest.  Well we weren’t looking to do anything like that.  We just wanted someplace to build a house that offered some privacy. 

We didn’t pursue things with the real estate agent right away.  We weren’t in a rush, and the seller wasn’t being bombarded by offers.  She actually hadn’t gotten any decent offers at all.  Just a low ball offer from a potential developer, who backed out after realizing they couldn’t develop the parcel for profit.  Turns out the seller was from Cape Cod, living in the same town that we were living in at the time.  She had owned the property for a number of years and was looking to get rid of it.

So we slept on it, for a few weeks.  We looked at other properties on-line and did some drive by’s.  But we were not finding any places that had the amount of good quality land that the lot in Wilmot had.  After thinking about it for about a month or so, we decided to contact the real estate agent again and inquire about making an offer.  We did not intend to go near the full price, so we offered what we thought was reasonable for what we could spend.  The back and forth happened slower than we anticipated.  And after not getting any real answer from the seller, we made a final offer which was about 15% less than the asking price.  I was surprised, Jess was not, that the seller accepted our offer!  Within a couple of weeks and by Christmas of ’09 we owned the land.

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