A very profitable encounter

Several weeks ago I described how a contractor’s boo-boo turned into a great opportunity for Miss D. and myself.  We’ve just concluded a second land purchase as a result, and we’re very pleased with the outcome.

Our house is relatively small (more than adequate for 2-3 adults, or two adults and two kids, but by no means a McMansion), and it’s on a smallish plot – just under 6,000 square feet, which translates to about 0.14 acres (or, for readers in metric countries, just over 0.05 hectares).  That wasn’t as large as we’d have liked, but the price was right when we bought it, and we didn’t have more money to spend at that time.

However, we happened to discuss our contractor’s mistake with the owner of the land behind ours – he’s the man who originally built this entire development – at a time when he was looking to divest himself of his last remaining plots here.  The bit of ground behind our home is a surveyor’s oddity;  too narrow to build a house on it, but also a sort of dog-leg on the larger property next to it, one that a buyer of that plot wouldn’t really want.  Over the past several weeks, we bought the rectangle of land immediately behind our property, and today we bought another small patch on one side of it, after it had been properly surveyed.

The upshot is that we’ve increased the overall area of our property by almost 50%, at a price (for the new land) of just over $1 per square foot – a bargain in anyone’s language!  The next step will be to extend our rear privacy fence, to incorporate the new area into our present back yard.  (That’ll cost several times more than we paid for the land, what with filling in the holes left by the old fence posts, fixing up drainage, moving our little garden shed, and all that sort of thing.  Still, it’s money well spent.  I reckon the new land will increase the overall value of our property by anywhere between 25% and 50%, compared to its original purchase price.  I’m not going to turn up my nose at that!)

Miss D.’s already planning ahead for the next few years;  a gazebo standing on a small paved area with a firepit, some raised beds for ‘square foot gardening‘, and so on.  I’m also thinking about putting a small writing cabin out there in due course.  (Not least among our considerations is that we now have enough ground out back to get a dog, if we wish.  We haven’t in the past, because a dog needs some space to run around.  Now that we have it, who knows?  The cats may get company!)

It all goes to show:  when someone comes to your door to complain, a polite, respectful response can sometimes produce a windfall effect far beyond anything you could ask or imagine.



  1. Square foot gardening really works. We cut railroad ties in half and stack 3 deep to make our 4 foot squares. It is pleasant to sit on the side of the square to weed it. I mostly keeps the Wolfhounds out of it too, mostly, sort of, mostly.

  2. How nice to have some more land, and you and Miss D can have writing rooms, gardens, oh the possibilities. Could you direct me to the post about the contractor? I cannot recall it.

  3. railroad ties

    I would think the creosote in the ties would become a problem, at least for your clothes…

    I did something similar with 2×4 lumber: bought a bunch of 16' pieces (cheaper per foot than shorter ones, for some reason) and had them cut into 4' lengths at the lumberyard, then at home notched the ends so the boards fit together like lincoln logs.

    Paint them up with a deck stain/sealer, and line the inside with landscape fabric – very important, otherwise all your dirt leaks out the sides – and you're good to go.

    I have a four set up in a very narrow strip of land on the south side of the garage.

  4. Always a blessing to read of good things happening to good people, with all involved walking off happy, to boot. In the passage of time, and with a variety of things discussed here, I had forgotten about your opportunity. Glad to read the resolution, and future plans. Life is good.


  5. +1 on the square foot gardens. I used 2×12's for my raised beds, and stacked a double layer of 2×8's for smaller, deeper beds for carrots, potatoes and other root veggies.

    I just replaced the frames this year, I got 5 years worth of use before they started rotting apart.

    Also, if needed in your area, line the bottom of the frames with chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep the critters from burrowing up from underneath to munch your garden roots.

  6. I'm glad to hear that you had the land properly surveyed, it's especially important with the kinds of odds and ends you bought.
    I'm a Real Estate Broker in W Sonoma County and had one of those WTF conversations with a surveyor when talking about a small town here…surveys are very expensive there because the roads are 200' from where the County shows them to be.

  7. I have your " starter " redneck firepit done and setting in my yard awaiting first trip either of us makes if you still want it ( as we discussed last Blogarado ).

  8. That is indeed a good deal, but check out how much the additional property tax will increase. Property taxes in many Texas communities can be pretty high.

  9. Awesome news! Land is the one thing they're not making more of, so getting some at a good price, especially if it's as useful as this sounds, is a great investment.

  10. Well done. Congratulations! Realize, they ain't making any more of it (except maybe Hawaii).

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