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Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day - We Bought Some Earth

Video - Front and Back of the Ray Prim House

Ever since we bought our home on Seminole Drive six years ago - we dreamed of building a new home in this neighborhood. There were no lots available because the neighborhood is 60 years old and all built out. We could have bought a new home in Southwood - but then we would have been 5 miles farther from campus - we didn't want that.

Ray Prim lived 5 doors down the street from us. He lived there alone for 40 years in a brick ranch house. I visited Ray there - as far back as - 20 years ago. He had a big train yard in the living room and I took my sons there to see it. I visited Ray around Thanksgiving - and he was as cheerful as always - though he knew the end was near. He had promised to sell the property to a couple down the street at the bargain price of $150,000.

The brick ranch house is very nice - but it could use a big upgrade of windows - carpets - painting - and kitchen.

When Ray died - his executor went to the couple and offered it to them for $150,000. They tried to get the money up - but no luck. I am thinking in the back of my mind that they were expecting a larger discount. Finally - the executor gave them a deadline. When the deadline came and went - I offered $150,001. The executor  accepted the offer - we signed a quick "as is" agreement.

Yesterday - April 22nd - Earth Day - we closed the deal at the law office. It's ours.

We never intended to buy a house - we were looking for land. I went to the city planners and told them about Ray's house. They said that Ray's lot was so big that I could build 8 houses on it. It is 210 x 250 - 1.2 acres - bigger than a football field! Imagine that - all that land less than a mile from the Capitol Building.

The lot is landscaped beautifully - lots of big pines - azaleas - camellias - dogwoods. The lot is pretty level - sloping gently toward Seminole Drive. It has a two carports - for three cars - two out buildings of brick. Did I say the lot was bigger than a football field?

The city said we could divide the lot - leaving the brick rancher on one piece - and build a new home on the other piece. We must stay 10 feet from the side lines and 25 feet from the front and back lines. So now we are collecting ideas for a new home.

We will probably not break ground on the new home until 2011. Lulu is so busy being president of AASL - it would be a good idea to build now I think. She wants to be here to micro-manage the project.

We already got a John Deere tractor to cut the big lawn and do yard work. Our new truck will come in handy too. Way in the back of the lot - you would swear you were out in the country.

The neighbors are all surprised we bought it. The house never got into the hands of a realtor - never had a sign on it.

37 years ago - Lulu and I bought a lot in Tamaqua to build our first dream home. My parents thought we were nuts paying $3000 for a 50 x 150 building lot in Tamaqua - but they loaned us the money anyway. I wonder what they would think of us paying $150,000 for a lot now - in downtown Tallahassee.

The more things change - the more they the same.