Advice from Dad: Sometimes it’s worth listening


I don’t know about your Dad, but if he’s anything like mine, he is probably full of…advice. And if you’re anything like me, the older you get the better some of that advice starts to sound. Well the reason I’m bringing this up is to share some of the best advice my Dad ever gave me. But first, the backstory.

14 years ago, my husband and I were standing in a bare empty field with only a few apple trees and a giant barn on it. This 48 acre property is located just a few minutes from Belleville. Being young, eager, and entrepreneurial in spirit, we were both very excited about the possibilities this land held for our landscape construction business and our growing family.

Of course the next step was to find out how much this property was listed for. Well let me tell you, you have never seen two grown-ups deflate quite so quickly. By the time we added up the cost of the land, building a house, developing the property, and planting a few acres of lawn…I’m sure you get the idea. The cost of it all seemed astronomical to a young, self-employed couple, which the bank quickly confirmed.

So despite all of the benefits this property offered, Mr. Picture Perfect and I looked at a lot of other options. Let’s face it, land isn’t cheap! It wasn’t then and it isn’t now. There is often some creative financing needed for a land purchase, and HST is sometimes a factor. The difference now? There is a lot less land available. This brings me back to dear old Dad. After watching us circle around this decision for a couple of weeks, Dad finally dished out one of his best bits of advice…which I learned much later he borrowed from Mark Twain:

Buy Land. They’re not making it anymore.

So we did. It wasn’t easy, and there was definitely some creative financing and a lot of hand wringing involved, but we did. If you are on the fence about a land purchase, take my Dad’s advice. My land value alone has more than doubled in the past 14 years. While this might not be the normal rate of return for all land purchases, and (disclaimer here) my Dad and I are not investment advisers, land values almost always appreciate over time. Whether your dream is to build your ‘forever home’ or to find a quiet place to spend weekends hunting or fishing, whether it’s to buy property that can be developed for your business, or to buy a building lot to hang onto and help get your kids into their first home someday, if you’re in it for the long haul, you won’t regret buying land.

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