Homeownership, The First Building Block in an Empire
Back in 1988, after working in most of the Western States for the US Forest Service, I was heading home.
Back to Wisconsin, a state with the highest education scores, a great place to get my 2.5 young children a good start, a place for my wife to teach in a fine school, and of course to be close to family friends and grandparents.
As I was planning the trip home one of my priorities was that I was finally going to set down permanent roots and buy a home with some acreage.
A place where I could call my own, a place to build equity, and never have to move from again.
I was also ready to start my business and plans for my new home were competing in my head with plans for my successful Forestry Consulting business.
We started off renting for a few months while my wife worked for a small college in Ladysmith Wisconsin and I worked for the State of Wisconsin and on my business each day after I finished my duties for the state.
6 months later my wife was offered and accepted a new job about 25 miles away in Cadott.
While she was setting up her classroom one day I came along and found myself visiting with the janitor during his break, and like I did with many people mentioned that I wanted to find a low-priced rural home with some land.
To my surprise, he stated that he had an old farm that he would like to sell, he said that it was not much, and I may want to tear down the house, but it was cheap.
$30k for a huge farmhouse, barn, and a falling down shed, and nearly 3 forty’s (118acres), and he was willing to finance!
Now to come up with a 10 percent down payment…
Loans from a few relatives got me most of the way, my small savings, and delaying payments on student loans and a few other things got me the rest of the way.
We were so overjoyed to move into this beat up old farm house, and willing to overlook the many problems.
That first year was rough, with snow blowing in through the cracks, tons of field mice invading through other cracks after that first frost of fall, leaks in the roof, plumbing issues and more.
My mother in law kept referring to it as a “Hunting Shack”.
Fortunately, she was good about helping with the restoration. That first year my father in law and her were over nearly every weekend, with supplies and labor.
A new roof and windows were first on the list, then new plumbing.
Later we worked on more insulation, upgraded electric, new siding and much more.
All these upgrades took a lot out of us, but they were building equity, and the 40,000 trees that I had planted on the land were also building equity.
Both in increased aesthetics and in timber value.
By 2000 we had sold off several lots and a few chunks of the farm as well as leveraged the equity into several other good property investments.
This first building block was growing and helping our net worth to grow.
I still own this home and about 50 acres around it, using it mostly as a field office, place to grow trees, and equity to draw from when I need it for a project or purchase.
This equity has helped with many big projects and many other purchases over the years, and is sure to continue to as is serves as the first building block in the Woodland Companies.
Let me know when You are ready to start accumulating a few Building Blocks for your Future!