Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Little Road That Could

In 1999, I did my first real estate development project. The plan was simple, but different. I took 330 acres which were in a weird spot between the high density growth of Augusta County and the rural farms which cover the area. This land is rolling and steep in places.

Jamie and I had been looking for a place to build our home, but couldn't find any available land. It was either small or in a bad location or both. So we decided to buy the 330 acres and split it up into 17 lots ranging in size from 10 to 30 acres. To keep things that way, we put loads of restrictions on the property with the most important one being that no lot can be subdivided.

In order to access part of the property, I built a short road (about 3/4 mile). Of course, nothing is easy. To build the road, I needed to purchase a small right of way from the County School Board. They stuck me for $60,000 for a piece of land 50 feet by 130 feet.

The road construction went well. I had traded a lot to an engineer who's job it was to do all the engineering on the project. (Pay attention because this is where I made a mistake.) When the land was ready, I gave him his property although the road was not fully accepted into the state road system (did you see the screw-up?).

So here we are in 2005. The road has been built for some years now, but only now is it ready to be accepted into the system. Guess what happened? No, really guess! The guy who got 17 acres for his labor refuses to do his part to get the road accepted.

Needless to say, I will go ahead and cover the costs and figure out how to get him to pay it later. The problem is that I should have forseen this. (Here comes the life lesson.)

"Don't pay for things until things are done!"

Pretty simple huh? I have found that if you hold off on paying until everything is completely done, then everything seems to work out much better.

Anyway, the best part about the road is that I named it after my youngest son, Adin. He still gets a big kick out of having his name on a road.

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