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Dually Declined

Last month, we thought perhaps we'd be writing in this issue about finding our dream land. Let us tell you the story of how that one got away and how it wasn't so dreamy after all. As many of our followers know, our goal is to land (pun intended) property near where we live. When options in Genesee County dried up, we extended into Livingston County. There were two pieces that quickly didn't work out as described in our March issue. Then we found one that seemed to check all the boxes and then some!

  • Location. It was just south of M-59 and five minutes from US-23, 10 minutes from downtown Howell. We believed this location would actually provide a larger customer base.

  • Secluded. It was buffered by woods, wetlands, and hills. There were only two homes visible from the property and they were very deep lots. One was a horse farm, which aligned with our vision to have farm animals as an attraction.

  • Spacious. There were 107 acres in total, plenty of room for 3+ miles of hiking trails, and of course all the other activities we want to offer.

  • Bonus Items. There was already a huge pole barn constructed. It was made up of 3 parcels, so we could reserve one for our residence. And it used to be a private golf course, meaning it was already landscaped (albeit no gardener appeared to have touched it for over a decade).

We came close. Our first offer was beat out by a cash offer with shorter terms. Unfortunately for the seller, that offer was later withdrawn. Afterwards, we were lucky enough to sit down with the seller and his agent, and present our plan. He was impressed, but again, being under the gun for a balloon payment, he picked a second cash offer over ours. And it wasn't because our offer wasn't high enough...

We are planning to finance our business with an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan. The SBA requires significant due diligence prior to closing. Here are some of the things they require:

  • Perk tests, necessary for conventional septic/drain fields

  • Wetlands delineation, to make sure we're not building on protected land

  • Environmental assessment, to make sure we don't later uncover toxic waste or the like, and become responsible for cleaning it up

  • Special use permit from the township planning commission

  • Site plan approval from the township board

With all these steps come time. And many sellers aren't willing to take their property off the market for the time required to complete them. That's understandable. We are nonetheless confident that we can get them done once we are finally given the chance.

There's a reason we didn't get the land described above. Each time we've missed out on land, God has subsequently shown us an even better option. Case in point: we found out from the seller's agent that the potential buyer discovered that no portion of the land would pass a perk test, leaving them with few and very expensive options for dealing with wastewater. As a result, that offer was withdrawn. Thankfully, we didn't have to spend them money on those perk tests.

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