Archive for the 'Finances' Category

It’s only been 7 years

Monday, December 14th, 2015

I let my personal blog die for a few reasons, largely financial. Then I realized I still had this domain and here I am.

ignore me. I just need to get a few things off my chest.

Delayed post?

Friday, August 1st, 2008

It’s been so long since this site has been updated that I wonder if anyone even bothers looking any more.

We get the Dignam catalogue in the mail regularly and the latest one came with a gift certificate with a scratch off for $980.oo off your next purchase of land from them! If anyone is interested in this, I would happily mail it to you!

coupon

O’s alainn an t-aite

Monday, October 29th, 2007

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a big fan (and happy customer) of the H.M. Dignam Corporation, which is a company that sells (mostly) inexpensive rural land in Canada. Outside of having amazing deals on land, they have wonderful terms of sale, which I’ll mention a few of:

  • You don’t have to be a Canadian to buy (I mention that mostly because I know that many non-Canadians read this).
  • No-questions financing with a low monthly payment (or pay cash), which means you can buy land as a student or other individual without the kind of credit you normally need to buy vacant land.
  • Pay the monthlies at the normal rate, or pay it off all at once as you see fit if you come into money. The rates are low enough that most people should be able to buy a large rural property with minimal personal sacrifices.
  • If you don’t like your property you can trade it for a different one within two years (which means if you buy something sight unseen, it’s much safer).
  • Detailed maps are available, and most of the properties are on grid and on roads.

I’ll give you a few samples from this month’s catalog so you can see what I mean. Seriously, if this is interesting to you, subscribe to their catalog — you’ll be like a kid in a candy store dreaming about your early retirement to your homestead. Here’s a property on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia — a part of the world that the Scottish settlers described as the most beautiful land they’d ever seen when they arrived (and GQ Magazine’s #2 North American island destination). It’s about half way between the bridge to the island and Bras D’Or lake, and is fifteen acres for a three thousand dollar down payment and then $318 a month.

dignam-novascotia.jpg

You can also get incredibly cheap land in Northern Ontario. I’m not really sure that I’d personally want to live as remote as Cochrane, Ontario, but at least if global warming floods the coast lines, it’s a very safe place to be and there are plenty of moose to eat (if it’s your thing, subsistence hunting is very much an option, and you can sell blueberry-moose sausages to rich folk in the city and live like a king — or just make pine needle tea)! This property, 150 acres of mixed land with a big 10 acre pond and a river flowing through it is $5,660 down and then $620 a month, and is fairly typical of what’s available.

dignam-cochrane.jpg

The cool thing about places like this is that there are no building codes or zoning, meaning that if you want to build a sand-bag house or an earthship, you won’t have to fight with building inspectors that don’t know anything about alternative construction methods — so not only can you buy the land for almost nothing, you can get away with building something that costs almost nothing.
Maybe you’re thinking that both of those places are far too remote? Even land in Southern Ontario can be had really inexpensively. This property is just north of where I used to live in Tweed, Ontario is on the Trans-Canada Highway, so it’s about two hours from both Ottawa and Toronto, and about half that from Kingston, all major cities. The picture is actually one that I took on a branch the river that flows along the northern border of this property.

dignam-tweed.jpg

And yes, I know, even that property is a little remote if you’re used to being able to stumble out to the 7-11 at 3AM for your dinner, but the hillbilly freedoms it comes with are a more than equitable trade… And if you build your own home and grow a lot of your own food, you really can live the good life on work that you can do over the Internet or by telephone (assuming you can’t generate money or find a job locally).

hillbilly-marty-and-clive.jpg

It can’t possibly be worth it…

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

The following comment comes from Earth-Sheltered Houses by Rob Roy (who also expands on this subject in his brilliant book Mortgage Free).

More than a third of the average American’s after-tax income is devoted to shelter, usually rent or mortgage payments. If a person works from age 20 to age 65, it can be fairly argued that he or she has put in 15 years (20 in California) just to keep a roof over their head. With a piece of land, six months’ work, and — say — $35,000, he (or she) and his family could have built his own home.

To save 14½ years of work, you cannot afford not to build, even if it means losing a job while you do it. Granted, the land (and the $35,000) has to come from somewhere, but this amount is no more (and probably no less) than the down payment on a mortgaged contractor-built home, and about half the cost of a new double-wide mobile home (figuring either option as being about the same square footage as an earth-sheltered home).

And what do you get for your time and money? You get a comfortable, long-lasting, energy-efficient, environmentally compatible, low-maintenance home. You get the design features that suit you, so that the house fits like an old slipper. You get built-in fire, earthquake, and tornado insurance. You get intimite knowledge of the home so that when maintenance or repairs are required, you’re the one best placed to make them. You get tremendous personal satisfaction. And you get freedom from a lifetime of economic servitude.

Rob Roy actually sits on the “expensive” side of DIY underground construction — earthships and various other super-cheap underground homes are well below his $35k estimate and certainly well below the cost of, say, a new car. Couple that with inexpensive land from a company like Dignam Land (in Canada), or various other companies around the world selling rural land from tax sales, logging properties, and so on, and the whole project can be done for less than the down payment on any home would be…

So… why don’t more people do it? Is it really worth giving up 15+ years of your life (and I’d say for many people, more) to pay off the house you live in just to save yourself the effort of having to do it yourself?

rob-roy-underground-house.jpg

Surely it can’t be that a life of 9-to-5 indentured servitude is so wonderful that one can’t give up a summer or three building a house like the one above, which I believe came in at about $20,000… And with an increasing percentage of people defaulting on their mortgages and losing all of those years, even on a risk management level it seems completely nonsensical.