Monday, February 18, 2008

Speaking of home inspectors...

Last post I mentioned that I should have had a Wetland Engineer look at the land in addition to my home inspector. But I happened to stumble upon a really good home inspection company. I've had two houses inspected by them. The name of the company is Pillar To Post

I've had two different houses inspected by them by two different inspectors, and I was very happy with both of them.

This is the house we bought in Auburn...
An old Sears Craftsman. Really cute little house. I found an the old catalog on Ebay. The house originally cost $2,093 in the 1920's. That still blows my mind.

Pillar to Post did the appraisal on this house. I think it was around $325, and they give you a really good notebook with color pictures of everything. It also has a cd that shows you how to do many of the repairs.

So when it came time to buy the farm, we used them again.

Here's the barn that's on our new land.
(We'll get to that later.)

But back to the wetlands. Going into this, I thing I was like most people. You think, "I'm buying 10 acres, that'll be plenty of room to do everything I could ever want, and then some." But I was really uneducated about the entire concept of critical areas. King County passed a law that says I have to keep 65% of my land in its "Natural State." There are also buffers from 25 feet to over 100 feet on any kind of wetlands.

So if I had to do it over again, I would have a wetlands recon done. We ended up doing a basic wetland report with a guy from Evergreen Aquatic Resource Consultants. Their website is

For about $800 they came out, walked the site, took soil samples, and came back with a report of the usable land that we could develop. This report was by no means exhaustive, and we couldn't use it to issue building permits, but it gave us a good idea of the possibilities.

The green triangle is the only suitable site on the entire acreage to build a new house.

I have to be honest, that really surprised me. I thought I'd be able to build in many places on the land.

There is a clearing in the back that seemed like the perfect place to eventually build a new house, and that's one of the features that we fell in love with. I guess you can look on the bright side, and say that at least we have one viable building site.

All of the dotted area on the map is wetland buffer. So if there had not been a house on this land, I probably would not be able to even build the existing house that's up in the front right hand corner of the property. That's how strict the King County CAO laws are.

Here's a pic of the clearing in the back. The previous owner had put in a road, and cleared the trees. I don't know if the picture does it justice, but it really is an amazing site to have a home. Hopefully, we'll be able to build our dream home down the road in a few years.

That big pile of wood on the right is a burn pile that was never burned. We have two of those in the back area. That is definitely high up on the project list for this spring, to take care of those. My neighbors keep telling me to just pour some diesel on them and burn them, but I'm still not convinced. I might hire a dump truck to come back there and haul it away. We'll see.

So the moral of this post is if you are buying land, and actually want to use it, get a Wetland Report done. Especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest.


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