We were planning to do a driving trip to visit Thunder Bay this past summer, since we love Lake Superior, and haven't been all the way around in our past two visits.
In early July, Ray mused one afternoon as we were having tea, "I wonder what house prices are like up in Thunder Bay?. I googled and said they're the same as down here.
"What about land prices?"
I googled again... "Oh, wow, there's this property, 18 acres, on a river, with a cabin, for only $49,900.00!"
Waterfront property in our area is in the millions these days, even for a small building lot.
"I've got a meeting!" Ray jumped up, "I can't look now."
We had been thinking about getting a summer investment property so we could have a holiday location when the summer got too busy around here.
I couldn't wait for him. I decided to call the agent.
"Well, yes, it is still for sale, but for ten more minutes, and we already have two offers on the table!"
"Oh!" I was thrown into a state of indecision. Ray was still on his meeting. I peeked in his office. Not available. Ten minutes?
"I'd like to put in an offer," I replied, figuring that that would give me ten minutes to think, once I'd got the papers.
"And what would you like your offer to be?"
I've always been against the whole bidding war thing, and I was really just jumping in on a whim, so I said "49,9"
That's the asking price, you realize, and there are two other offers on the table." her voice dropped with displeasure.
"Yes, that's fine", I replied, not really sure if I was serious. "Let fate decide."
"Ok, and how will you be paying?"
"Oh cash, of course." I knew a piece of land with a rustic cabin would never get a mortgage, anyway and I had the investment money set aside.
"Oh, cash!" the agent replied, her voice rising this time. "So, no conditions?"
"No, no conditions." I replied, without a flinch of doubt.
The docu-sign was sent over by email, and I called my mother quickly, in a flurry of emotion. She was supportive and lighthearted about it.
The document came through, I signed it back, and in just 5 minutes I had an offer on the table, on a property I'd never seen, -never even been to Thunder Bay.
A few minutes later, while I waited to hear from the agent, Ray came back downstairs, his meeting over.
"Hey, I was looking at that land with the cabin. It looks pretty interesting!"
"Too late, I replied, I've already put in an offer!"
"What? We haven't even seen it!"
"It's my purchase, you don't need to worry. I bought it alone."
I explained about the ten minute closing, and how I had low-balled the price, to just let 'fate' decide. "If it's meant to be it will be!"
Ray was like a kid at Christmas. More excited than I was, even. We both poured over Google Earth to try to find any clues as to what kind of property it was, and he kept exclaiming about different things.
"18 acres waterfront! It's just north of Kakabeka Falls, above the dam. And the cabin newly built!"
"Yes, it's my art cabin, off the grid, nothing but 4 walls and a few windows. One kilometre of waterfront, with no one else on that stretch of river. Perfect."
I felt calm.
The phone rang. I put it on speaker phone. "Well, you were the lowest bidders" the agent started with, her voice lowering.
"Oh yes, I'm not surprised..." I began, lightly, but she interrupted,
"But you won the property! The owners loved that you're an artist and you'll be painting the lovely views. They also like the fact that you had cash, no conditions."
"I won?" Ray whooped for joy in the background.
And then the adventure began. We had two weeks to get ourselves Solar Power savvy, with an electric trawling motor for our canoe, to carry us and our belongings over the river, and then all the off-the-grid equipment we could muster. Each evening, exhausted from shopping and researching, we'd pour over Maps and Google Earth to try to find any new clues about the land I had purchased. Ray was envious and wanted to share it, but it was to be my art cabin, not a family purchase.
Those two weeks we didn't sleep well. My imagination was carried away with what I had done, what the location was like, and whether it was a 'swamp land in Florida' situation, but it was meant to be, I knew, I could trust my instincts, so we packed and prepared for the adventure ahead.
To Be Continued...
Hilary Slater: I write in the morning before I get out of bed. I write in the evening when the world is quiet. I write at Starbucks, where I can escape the household interruptions. But most of all I write in November, when NaNoWriMo inspires me!