Sunday, October 23, 2005

Land Baroness

Yesterday I got this grand land urge, i.e. the urge to own a chunk of land of my very own, to squat on, ignore, have picnics on, whatever. Okay, I already have a house, but the back yard is a swamp sloped deeply enough for skiing if there were any snow around here. The front yard doesn't exist. Plus, I thought it would just be a nice little investment to have a piece land somewhere.

The "somewhere" turned out to be on the Long Beach Peninsula. Which is probably folly, since one major tidal wave would likely wipe the place out. But, silly me, that just adds to the adventure/risk factor. Of course, I don't have a lot of money to play around with, here. Actually, I shouldn't do it at all, but that never stopped me before. My Grandpa was a bit of a speculator, and I must have more of his genes than I realized.

So I found this funky piece of land out there on the WA MLS, called the seller's realtor at around 1:30, and said I'd be out there at 3:30 or so to look at the lot. She was busy with clients till then, so she thought that was fine. No names here, so I'll just call her Daisy (no, it's not even remotely close to her real name).

Pal Margot (still visiting from KS) and I trundled over the bridge and tried to find the lot. We drove and drove, up and down, and back and forth, and couldn't find the damn thing. Called the realty office, and explained the problem, and the receptionist looked it up and said, "Oh, no wonder, the street it's on is listed wrong." Uh, okay. So she gave me the RIGHT street, and we finally found it.

Daisy told me there were septic issues, as it would be very expensive to put one in because the lot is too low. Hell, I didn't care, I'm not going to build on it anyway. And if I ever could afford it, by then the city sewer might already be there. But when I got to the lot, it was actually higher than the ones around it. Huh?

We drove down the road it was on just to see where it went, which is essentially a few miles into nowhere. That probably explains why there was a rocking car with a bobbing bare butt in the back window at the end of the road. As we whisked out of there to avoid disturbing the tryst, we saw a truck being driven very fast to the lovers' location. Disgruntled husband? We were kind of disappointed we wouldn't be around to see the impending drama.

So Margot and I went for lunch & a toddy at a local joint to wait out the realtor, who was STILL busy with clients, even though it was now 4 PM. At 4:30 I called Daisy from the joint, and said hey, if you want to show the land to us yourself as you requested, it's getting kind of late! Nope, still busy, writing an offer, come see her at 5. It was starting to get dark, and had started drizzling. I think she must have been hand writing that offer in Sanskrit it was taking so long.

At 5 PM, Margot and I went to the office to try to roust her out. Still busy with the clients, but two guys were in the office, and they tried to help with more info about the lot. Not easy, since confusion reigned ... the file was lost, the street address was wrong, and the plat map number on the listing was wrong, too! Huh? What's going on here?

We finally found the right plat map, as having been there, I knew exactly where the lot was, and the next issue was size. How big is the damn thing, really? They guessed on it from the guide on the map, and told me if I really want to know, go back out there and pace it. Pace it? Okay, fine. Nothing like self-serve property hunting. Daisy looked up long enough from her clients to say the lot was totally cleared, which I found rather disappointing, since I would love some trees, and I was assured there were no boundary markers to go by.

So Margot and I went back to the lot, and in the drizzle, I paced it out. Very interesting. Not only do there seem to be actual border markers, but the property also appears to go several rows into a forest. I have to wonder ... has Daisy actually ever even BEEN to the lot?

Since Daisy has not been very forthcoming (her poor seller!), and getting information about the lot is like the proverbial pulling-of-teeth, I've hired my own realtor to represent me and find out what the hell is really going on. Gave him all of the correct info, since the only thing right in the listing is apparently the MLS number. The mystery will unfold in due time ...

Astoria Photografpix

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