I thought I knew what I was doing when I bought my land, but I didn’t. I bought it because I fell in love with the veiw from the building site. I could see most of the 40 acres from standing on top of the hill and it’s perfict view of the big pond with lots of geese and this is were I came up with the name “Milligan’s Gander Hill Farm”. The eastside of my land butts up against 5 thousand acres of Stephens State Forest and I couldn’t see another house in any direction I looked. It had the views and solitude I was looking for.
I also bought the land as a investment in 2009 during the economic recession. Farm ground and gold was about the only thing that wasn’t losing its value. It also had some income of 2000.00 a year from CRP. The government pays this money for the land owner to plant lots of trees along a watershed like the creek (Brush Creek) that runs along the north boundry line of my property. It help stops eroision. This propety had 1200 little seedlings planted all along both sides and all the property owner had to do was mow around the trees a few times a year so the weeds don’t block the sun light of the trees. I was told you only have to mow the first three years and then the trees would be tall enough and they wouldn’t need mowing after that. It had already had been three years since the trees had been planted, so with me still living in Chicago I wouldn’t have to worry about mowing around the trees.
With the CRP payment 2000.00 a year, (which was much more then the banks were paying interest on my money) and with farm ground value always going to keep rising, I thought it was a no lose deal. It didn’t turn out to be as good a deal as I hoped.
Lesson # 1, Walk all of the property before you buy it.
The first thing I did after closing on my property, Sept. 2009 was go down to the bottom ground to check out the land. It had not been mowed and the weeds and brush were as high as my chest. The previous owner had obviously not mowed and taken care of the trees. I looked around but I couldn’t tell where the young trees were planted. some of the weeds looked like they might be trees, but I was not sure. So I called the county forester who’s job it was to look after such projects for the FSA (Farm Service Agency) and see if he could help find the trees.
He agreed to meet me there the following spring when the little trees were to begin leafing out and the weeds wouldn’t be that tall yet, to make it easyer to spot them. We walked around and we didn’t find one tree that was planted in 2006. I was bummed, this meant for me to keep collecting the 2000.00 a year, I would have to replant. Hiring a contractor to plant your trees and buying new seedlings from the state nursery was going to cost about 2 thousand dollars. This was money I was not planning to spend.
I was so mad, the seller should have disclosed this. I called the realitor who listed the property and told them of the situation, they gave me the sellers number and I called him and I told him if he would pay half the cost of the replanting I wouldn’t take him to court. He agreed and sent me a check for 1,000.
Next Post planting the trees.