Saturday, April 27, 2013

Problematic Plan B

We received very little news on the property in York County this week, but the piece we did get is good. FIL said the folks selling the land seem more motivated to get the problems fixed and the deal settled. When I posted last, he seemed to believe we needed to kiss the land good-bye (bye, bye - woo, see ya!), but when we met with him today, he was much more optimistic we could still land this land!

Regardless of the slightly positive change in the tide, FIL, hubby, and I went on a little trip to walk the Plan B property in Williamsburg today. Before discussing our experience walking the land, I have to share a quick side-bar about the Williamsburg property.

Begin side-bar:
Since we made the decision to buy a house (even before building was an option), we have wanted to end up in York County. I discussed this in the previous post, but to summarize, I wanted to settle in York County for its central location to both Chris and my work places and the stellar schools.

When we decided to build, we immediately found the piece of land in York County, and I was thrilled. But unfortunately, that excitement made the bad news about the land even harder to take. I told myself we would find something else in York County, but once we saw approximately five pieces and HATED them all, I tried to let go of York County and decided Williamsburg was just as nice. It helped that we found such a beautiful piece of land in the Plan B property.

Once we found our Plan B last weekend, we were anxious to find out more details and check out the actual property lines. So, I looked up the city of Williamsburg's assessment site. I happily typed in the address and wanted. The site quickly retorted: No searches match your criteria. I tried one more time but no dice. Hmmm...

Then, an epiphany: Of course, it isn't listed on the Williamsburg website, but the Williamsburg proper is so small; most of the land up there is actually in James City County.
Note for non-Virginians: Cities in Virginia are not contained within counties; we have cities and counties, but they are independent of each other. To make it even more confusing, we decided to name one of our counties: James City County.

Then, I tried James City County assessment website, but my search came up empty again. I was perplexed - the land couldn't be a city of its own. I panned out on the James City County map and followed a familiar road to where I knew the land was located. Then, I zoomed in.

The land wasn't listed on the Williamsburg or James City County sites because it's in York County! Just barely in York County, with the back of the property sitting on the border of Williamsburg. I have lived in this area for 10 years ago, but I can honestly say I had no idea York County was so expansive. Both properties are in York, but it would probably take 30 minutes to get from one to the other. So, I guess either piece we end up with, we'd be York Countians.

End side-bar.

As for the land walk this morning... it unfortunately did not go well. Husband and I saw the land last weekend, but of course, we have never built a house, and we aren't sure what's good land and what isn't. We knew the property was sloped in areas, but we hoped there was enough level land to build.

This morning, FIL walked up, down, and all around the plot. He measured and estimated. He did lots of math. Then, he laid it on us: We could build here, but we wouldn't have a useable backyard because the land is too sloped to do anything with it. We would have a small front yard and a beautiful deck but no backyard of which to speak.

I thought, "Well then, we're done with this land." There's no way we can't have a useable backyard. Ariel is a 67-pound, certifiably insane mutt, and she needs a yard. Furthermore, once we have kids, I'm sure they would like a yard. And where would a vegetable garden go?!

FIL and Chris continued to discuss it for a few minutes - FIL showed what tricks we could use to get the most out of the front, but it wasn't going to work. I finally spoke up - "I don't want this land if we can't have a backyard." And Chris nodded, "I was thinking the same thing."

So, that's it. The Williamsburg land is out of the running. And I am so thankful we have clear non-negotiables because it made letting go of a beautiful, well-priced piece of land so easy. We have our eye on other Plan B properties, but nothing that struck us the way the Williamsburg piece did. Our hope is that the York County piece (well, the first York County piece) will work out. It is still the most ideal piece for us (especially because it will have a huge yard).

We will just have to keep our fingers crossed. Will you cross yours too (please)?

Positoovely yours,

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