My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

The Owner Misrepresented This Property

Here's a copy of the e-mail I sent our real estate agent:

Mr. Lance misrepresented this property. We have found out from the neighbors several things about this property.
- that big hole towards the back of the property? We had no clue what it was? We met the owner of that tiny house next door (he finally got an offer on it) and he said that Mr. Lance let the trash pile up so much that the neighbors complained. He brought in a huge backhoe, dug a hole back there, and buried the trash. Since they had young children, we assume there's a mix of dirty diapers, household trash, plastic and other things that could possibly be poisonous. We're not sure whether to dig it up (how deep is it?!?!) and pay to have it removed, or smooth it out and plant something with shallow roots on it. Either way, it devalues the property, and WE could get in trouble with the EPA if discovered. Weren't they supposed to disclose this information ... about the trash hole?
- Some neighbors told us: when Mr. Lance purchased the property, there was a lot of beautiful landscaping done, including a terraced patio area to the south-side of the property. Mr. Lance, upon purchasing the property, starting digging out the landscaping (esp the decorative rock) and held regular garage sales to get money from it. That's why there's still a pile of it outside the garage. That's why the landscaping here looks so horrible and desolate.
- The electrical system and phone lines have been re-wrired, and most face plates are on the wrong places. There is no working phone place upstairs except for the master bedroom. There's only one in the basement that works; the rest of the plates have been painted over. It looks like anything that broke, he only placed a "band-aid" over it without actually repairing anything (i.e. the kitchen sink, and none of the bathroom sink basins hold water).

Just wanted to let you know. We keep finding more and more things wrong with this place. The neighbors really didn't like the family because of how they took care (or didn't) of this property. The Lance family supposedly even refused to let the girls out of the house to play (one neighbor family called the Lances the "witness protection family").

If the EPA comes after us for the trash hole or if something happens to our water table because of it, we will be contacting Mr. Jim Lance.

= = = =

Guess we didn't do our due diligence on this property. As this is a blog about finding and starting a self-reliant homestead, I'm writing this to hopefully help other people. Make sure you ask lots of questions about the property you are looking at, and get the answers in writing.

Anybody have any ideas about what we can plant on top of that trash hole? Nothing that produces anything edible.... maybe the bayberry plant (produces berries to become candle wax)... or lilac and lavender bushes (to scent my candles)?

= = = =

Turns out we didn't get the goats this weekend... even after all of our hard work to put the pen and exercise yard out. We plan to pick them up Saturday morning between 10 and 11. Can barely wait!

We did get some more boxes unpacked and things moved. We got the big 10-gallon container of paint re-mixed (re-stirred?) so we can (hopefully) finish painting the kitchen this week. I also unpacked a lot of kitchen things and finally found places for my pots and pans. The drawer under the oven was disgusting (did that woman ever clean?!?!) so it took me a while before I could place my cookie sheets, etc. in that drawer.

Had a leak under the kitchen sink this weekend. Turns out when Mr. Lance (former owner) did repairs, he just did a temporary fix that really didn't hold to people actually cleaning and doing dishes. Surprise. Not.

A little flat of mesclun-mixed-greens sprouted nicely. I think I'll advertise it on Craigslist in a week or so when others are ready too. If nobody buys... then I plant them! Yum! We're already feeding the bunny fresh greens, which she really loves.


Bellen said...

Not that it would help now, altho it might help to see if there are any more nasty surprises in the house, is a good home inspection prior to purchase.

Also, at the town hall aerial photos are usually available. Depending on how old the photos are, buildings, piles, old vehicles, etc are visible.

As you have found out, talking to the neighbors is very productive. Should always be done before purchase, several times if possible. Talk to as many within a 2 block area as possible - loose dogs, loud parties, late night drunken arguments don't stay within boundaries.

Unfortunately, going after a prior owner is often not productive. Same goes for the realtor. There is usually a clause somewhere in the fine print saying 'not responsible'. If you have a mortgage the bank might be of some help as the bank wants to protect their investment.

These suggestions come from personal experience. Hope they help.

Trashdigger said...

this is all part of having a homestead.. If it wasnt for the issues you wouldnt learn the self-sufficiensy. In all my years I have learned all kids of things about sellers and home maintenance. These things are expected. HUbby and you and the boy all need to learn how to fix this stuff, keep parts on hand etc. Take iot from me its worth it... Water leaks are better now than during the dead of winter..

Vikki and the Kid said...

Bellen: We did actuall have a home inspection and he caught a lot of things, but he didn't walk the property, and we just thought the landscaping was pitiful or neglected. Didn't realize it was on purpose.

Trash: Good point. Hubby is beginning to show me intricacies of plumbing. Fun fun.


Dunappy said...

1. Before planting ANYTHING in your pit, Go to the local environment department and Tell them you are interested in buying a piece of property and that you think it has a trash pit on it. Then ask them what you should do about it. At this point you don't need to tell them that it's really on your property until you find out what their policies are. Just get the info first even if you have to fib. Then you can decide what to do about it later.

2. After that you have to take into consideration how much of the "trash" will decompose and cause the pit to sink further. You might need to back fill that pit to allow for sinking.

3. Before planting, Dig up some soil from that pit and take it to your local county extension agent or local college or where ever does soil testing and get a soil test so you know whats there.

4. Plant your plants based on what the soil test tells you.

Trashdigger said...

As for the pit. Dont worry about it. PLant away. Chances are it will be ok and you might ecven has some better soild dut to the decomposition. MOst of us live on landfills. COlorado soils is already irradiated.. haha.

Digging pits and eith burying garbage or outright burning it was/ is the norm on most farms historically.


If you had a realtor involved, he has an insurance policy which you can file a claim against for misrepresentation and non disclosure.

Vikki and the Kid said...

Dun: I'm thinking we'll probably get tests done, anonymously! Trash: We'll also probably go on and plant lilac and lavender there (especially to surround it so no goaties or chickens get in there), altho we're quite sure there are "disposable" diapers and other such non-decomposing items buried in that trash pile. Sweetheart: That e-mail I sent our realtor about it? So far, not even a hint of a response. Geez, fun. We WILL be reviewing our disclosure statement and paperwork.

Thanks all. Vikki