It's been a year since we bought our plot of land unseen in Canada during lockdown. We haven't been able to head out and see the land as originally intended as international travel at this moment is illegal. The pandemic is slowly coming to a more stable state in England with a high percentage of the population having the vaccinations and our last lockdown seeming to slow the infection rate down. Because of this we have spent some time doing extra research on what we plan to do with the land, the local area and having moments of doubt (but not regret).
About a month ago, I had a moment in the pit of my stomach where I started to worry after watching youtube videos. I had seen some horror stories about land unseen not being as the pictures looked like or the land being in forest fires or being covered in rubbish from fly tipping etc... So I started to re look into everything again, but from a different perspective. First step the local town...
Elgin, New Brunswick
With my worries, I decided to do a little more research on the local area beyond searches on the internet and reading articles. I focussed more closely on the parish we are in and the neighbouring parish. I then joined facebook groups for the local community and followed local businesses. This has been a lot more helpful than we thought. We have found out:
The local internet speeds
The local events (including community clean up, the public ice rink built and maintained by local volunteers, seasonal cook outs, local eco association and a local camp down the road from our property).
Activities to take part in such as; snow shoeing, snow mobiling, skiing and paddling (kayaking or paddle boarding. All of these activities within our parish or just outside.
We also stumbled upon a woman who bought a neighbouring plot to us and is currently building a home on the land. She has helped to reinforce the decision we have made to get this land as she grew up in the area and decided to move back. She has also been looking at similar building suppliers to us, one of which she has gone ahead and ordered. This is invaluable to help us get a better idea of what the land is like.
We have also found a local land clearing and maintenance contractor (I am aiming to use as much local resources as possible to develop our land and eventually home).
We will be getting a quote for services in the next few days.
We also found a local photographer on facebook ( before we got accepted in the group, we found her business page on facebook).
Pictures On The Land From The Photographer
So we decided to get the local photographer (Alyssa Martin) to go an have a look round our land and just make sure our land matched up to what we were sold. We knew that google earth footage was a little different to the land due to some of the trees being previously cleared, but some of the images we were sent in hindsight looked a little like they could be anywhere in the world.
We were very lucky that Alyssa lived in the same village and knew how to find our plot (as it is in a very rural area of the province). She had even considered purchasing one of the plots herself. She gave us a very reasonable price to head to the land once the snow had melted and capture images from around our boundaries.
The above pictures were taken after the snow melt by Alyssa. SWe found out that there is a small brook at the bottom of our land just past our border which is lovely and some of the densely built up wooded areas would be lovely with a bit of clearing and we have some mature trees. There definitely needs to be a big clear up, digging up some of the roots from felled trees, thinning in some of the front sections and maybe some additional planting in the cleared areas that wont be where the house is going. She also used her phone to do an extra walk through of parts of the property and a drive up from the junction where the village is. From these pictures and the videos, our photographer confirmed we have:
Quite a bit of new growth and younger trees
Mature Maple Trees
A large Mature Elm (pictured below)
Mature Poplar Trees
Mature Birch Trees
Signs of Fiddleheads coming through
Lots of Wild Berries
Wider Captures And Footage Of the Land
The results of the main pictures really made us happy and settled our doubts straight away. They matched up to the summer and winter images we had from the estate agent. What's more the pictures she got were clearer and gave a better perspective of what the size of the land is, the view and some of the densely wooded areas that we would like to keep as is. Check out some of the shots below. Please note Alyssa took these the other week just after the snow melt (so they are a bit darker than the summer shots). We have asked her to get some again in summer and hopefully following some thinning at the front, so its a little tidier from the road.
The View From Our Land
So above you can see the picture on the left from our photographer showing our view from north boundary looking towards Elgin. You can see a gorgeous Elm tree on the right, a lot of debris and some bushes on either side. The picture on the right which was taken in late summer (by our realtors) and also features the same tree just a bit more centred.
I had never noticed the this tree before or really noticed just how nice that view would be from a home. For some reason i had just overlooked it and saw lots of tree and areas to do clear up without paying close enough attention to the detail. Note to self: Be more observant.
Viewpoint And Clearing Down The Road
This is a clearing we saw on the map and also in the picture files with our land but we were a little worried it may have been cleared for large development. Coming from the U.K. rural areas are being developed by densely packed and poorly built housing estates; this is the kind of thing we are trying to get away from. We like being in a community but want to also be in a greener area. Luckily it hasn't been developed since. This clearing is about 50m from our property just a little further up the mountain which is also awesome to see.
The Border View From The Road
On the left you can from the road our border and the front of the property in need of levelling, thinning and a clearing for access. This was taken by our photographer and the ones on the right of the same area taken by our realtor in summer.
After all this, I don't really know what all the worrying was about, but i'm very glad we requested the pictures to be taken and the walk through. It's made us both more reassured about our purchase, excited to build a home and back on track with our focus of saving (this year has definitely been a tough one).
We also requested the drone footage from our land. I don't know why we didn't do this sooner, as we already had drone images from the realtor and saw some footage from a plot that was close to ours. He was brilliant and offered to upload them to his youtube really quickly. As you can see from the clip below, the area is lovely. Just as the video starts you can see our plot you on the left hand side of the road where there is a clearing after the house with mature trees surrounding it. We have a house just opposite us (second on the right).
Our Next Steps
We are planning to get the tree's thinned out at the front of the property. And we will also get some additional clearing done in the back first.
Then we will look at which side to have the entrance to the property and how is best to clear this.
We are also scoping out architects and builders to get quotes for what we want and need.
Once this is decided, we need to decide whether to build before we move or afterwards.
Pin For Later
Check out my first article from when we initially bought the land last year. In this article I've shared how we did this and the research on the land and area. There are some other pictures from when we first got the land and I have also included the checks we went through at the time to purchase land unseen (Click Below).