Most days a new piece of land comes on the market and I get an email about it. We open these emails excitedly, hoping for the perfect parcel at a reasonable price. We have particular needs and wants for this piece of land, as we want it to be both our home and our business for many years to come.
There are many qualities included in our perfect piece of land. First of all, we want soil types that are good for growing fruits and vegetables. We use Web Soil Survey, which is a service of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. On this website, you can trace out an area anywhere in the country and find out what soil types are present. It being Maine, there are many parcels that are too rocky or too wet to be any good for growing vegetables. We’d also like to have some fields, at least enough to get started, though we are willing to clear forest.
Then there’s the location. We want to be fairly close to our families, who live in Central Maine. We want to be close enough to farmers markets and customers so we can conveniently sell our products. We’re looking for a small town with a sense of community, where we can become part of the town, get to know our neighbors and feel welcomed. Looking ahead to having children some day, we also want a town with a good school system. That’s a lot to ask of a town.
There are also little perks that get us excited about certain pieces of property. For Andy, it’s sugar maples and quiet dirt roads. For me it’s water, whether it be a stream, pond or lake. We don’t expect to be able to afford lakefront property, but something close to a lake would be wonderful.
There’s the question of a house too. We have lots of ideas about what we’d like our house to be, namely energy efficient and built with natural materials. We have been considering buying an existing house, and we’ve looked at some, but none are what we’re looking for. We’ve realized lately that, if we can afford it, we’d really rather have our house built for us so it’s just what we want.
With all of these criteria in mind, we’ve visited at least 37 properties this year. Some have come close to being what we want, but we haven’t found the perfect place to settle down together. We get discouraged sometimes, looking at parcel after parcel after getting excited by the listing. On one hand, we just want to buy something and start creating the home we want. But we also want to wait until a piece of property feels just right. When should we give in on some of our desires? What should we compromise on?