#5 So let me catch you up to where we are right now. We currently live about 45 minutes north east of Grande Prairie, AB, on 160 acres, with a nice home, a big barn/shop, 40 acres of arable land, 40 acres of hay, about 30 acres of mature forest and the remainder in pasture. We have 10 hens that are laying plus about 30 more that are in the maturation process, about 170 chicks that are being raised for meat, 21 sheep, 2 dogs (plus the neighbor’s dog), 4 cats, and 3 pigs. We have a seasonal creek that floods in the spring with the help of a family of beavers, we have moose through the property all winter, whitetail in the summer, and coyotes wandering the perimeter, keeping our dogs up at night… I work pretty much full time in Grande Prairie, and Dani works wherever there is need for a substitute teacher. Our oldest goes to school about 50km away, and we drive her there and back. Life is full. When I tell people that we have three kids (6, 4, 2) they always say, “Wow, you’re busy!” What they don’t realize is that the kids are just the tip of the iceberg. So, how did we get from living in Cochrane in a duplex to being wannabe farmers in northern Alberta? When we finally decided that we were committed to making the move, we started looking for land. Prior to making this move, we had owned three different houses and rented two in the previous 8 years. We were always on MLS.ca… I think it was our homepage for a while. We loved looking at possibilities, we loved knowing the estimated value of the house we were in at the time. So we felt like we knew our way around real estate to a certain degree. We started searching for places in the Cochrane area, in various other Albertan towns, and then into BC.
Then we looked at our schedule for 2014, and realized that it included about 6 trips back to Northern Alberta for the year… so we tried to search for places near our folks. When I say tried, what I mean is, people in rural settings don’t like paying others to do things for them that they can do for themselves. Think of Dwight from The Office, “Why tip someone for a job I am capable of doing myself? I can deliver food. I can drive a taxi. I can, and do, cut my own hair. I did however tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones.” The application of this to rural realty is, “Why would I hire a realtor when I can sell my place myself?” Of course, that logic only applies after they actually decide that they really want to sell their property in the first place. There are lots of people in rural settings that would probably sell if someone was interested to buy, but aren’t in a rush and their sentiment isn’t exactly broadcast to people living in far away cities. However, when you go to a little town and start asking if there is anything for sale, you will end up with more leads than you can follow.
“So-and-so was trying to sell their place a while back but took their sign down last winter. Not sure if they decided not to or if the snowplow just took out the sign, you should go ask them.”
“I think those guys would sell their place if they thought anyone would buy it. Um, it’s a nice place, you should talk to them.”
Of course, some are for sale and some aren’t and some might be before too long, but you can never be too sure. Our advantage was that my dad is the pastor of the town and my mom does home care and is a first responder, and Dani’s parents know the area north and east of there, and have a lot of connections through agriculture, so, all together, they have a pretty good scoop on a lot of what’s going on within about 75 km radius. I’m not sure how many properties we looked at or had our families look at on our behalf, but it was a lot. And then we got really excited about one…