Friday, August 14, 2009

the meeting

Today I walked into my bank and told the teller I wanted to talk to someone about buying a farm. I did it. I can't believe I actually did it. I felt like a million bucks until the woman behind the counter informaed me that she saw my photo in the paper last week (the local paper covered the Northshire gardening event), but she said it like you'd say you think the milk might be past the date on the carton...I quickly learned she was just being kind, and then she smiled at me. Which made me feel better. She pointed me to a woman named Dawn in a corner office and I sat down at the south end of her desk. I started to gush.

I told her everything. I explained that I didn't have the greatest credit and I wasn't married, but I wanted to see if I could buy a little land with a barn and a small farmhouse. I sweetened the deal by announcing in a few weeks every credit card I have will be paid off and I'll have enough set aside for a modest down payment too. I told her I'm employed at a good job and have been there nearly two years. I told her I wanted something in or close to Sandgate. I told her I wanted to raise sheep. And I told her how very very very much I want to see if this was at all possible?

She listened with polite nods and not once did she look around the office for something heavy in which to smite me dead. (The fact she didn't laugh me out of the bank was a big confidence boost in itself.) She said she'd set up a meeting with a professional mortgage officer that specialized in what I'm looking for. I had officially told the world of home-owning magicians I wanted my own land. It's out there. Everything that is me is out there like a carrot on the end of a stick. I left with a business card, a handshake, and a little hope. A little hope is all I'll ever need to be happy.

I drove back to work feeling untouchable. It was such a small incident: a question really. But the meeting wasn't the thing that had me so elated—it was the fact that I tried. That I went into that office and said out loud to the right people what I so desperately wanted. I don't know if this will take months or years but I am in the process of finding out. And just deciding to engage in such a process will have me falling asleep with a big stupid smile. Drunk on a dream.

Tonight at the laundromat I looked at farms in a real estate magazine someone had left behind. Just looking, mind you, but in a stronger proof. Things are different now.


Blogger smilingcat said...

Really am sorry about the weird post this morning on the previous entry. My computer did hiccup pretty bad bizarro...

Anyway I just wanted to congratulate Jenna on her big step forward. Never hurt to ask. And your experience today at the bank sounded really positive.

And being honest with the lender is always helpful. Wish you the best and rooting for you.


It's good to dream a good dream.

August 15, 2009 at 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you threw in that you're a published author. That seems to hold a lot of sway with banker-types.

August 15, 2009 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger HotFlashHomestead said...

Good for you! Owning your own piece of land is empowering like almost nothing else I can think of. YOUR house. YOUR barn. YOUR back yard. It's all good. Plus you're smart to be doing it at your age, I was not thinking that far ahead when I was as young as you, but looking back I wish I had been. Start small and work up from there.

August 15, 2009 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I want to second what localnourishment said, but in my own way.... For heavens sake girl, you are a published author, a contributor to two pretty high profile web publications, just turned up in the pages of Mother Earth News' Guide To Country Skills (I opened it up right to the picture of you and the woolies and I almost squeeled!) Hold down a full time job, take care of all your critters, teach yourself to play multiple musical instruments, phew! I'd go on, but my fingers are getting tired and I still haven't made my point yet. If there is anyone that has done more at such a young age (you mere pup, you!) to reach their dreams, than I've never heard of them. All of your friends/followers here are proud to think of you as our friend. And as such, my friend, I hope you get exactly what you desire. You truly deserve it.

August 15, 2009 at 1:19 AM  
Anonymous Erica in San Jose said...

Oh Jenna- I am SOOOO Happy for you! It is HUGE to make that first move, take that first step! Have some serious confidence in yourself girl, you are moving mountains that so many of us can't even get close enough to touch!

I can't wait to follow you along on this new chapter in your journey! Yay!!

August 15, 2009 at 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Holy crap, you are living the dream! Generally, I try to be a sweet, cheerful person, but I cannot hide my envy! This is awesome, and I can't wait until you find your perfect farm :)

*aaaaa the jealousy!!!!*

August 15, 2009 at 4:53 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

It never hurts to check. If your credit isn't good enough this year, then next year. I know what you're going through--although I didn't buy a farm or a mini-farm, even, just 1/3 of an acre and a big old farmhouse, I am also single with one income and not the best credit in the world. If I can do it, I'm sure you can too. Good luck! :)

August 15, 2009 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Listen to reluctanthippie, who in my opinion, has it all tied up for you! Don't sell yourself short. You have a lot to be proud of and it's apparent to anyone who will look into your future. Good luck!
Tami E.

August 15, 2009 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Darx said...

To the casual observer, I am sitting in my chair looking normal reading your blog. Inside, I am jumping up, hands in the air, crying and laughing at the same time, hollering, WAY TO GO, JENNA!!! WOO HOOOOO!!!! Wait, I think I might even be leaping around. LEAPING. It's an amazing thing you did. Not little at all. So many people are hoping right along with you. HOORAY!!

August 15, 2009 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

Good for you!! You're right, the first step of the process is so important and you did it! Best of luck on finding what you want.

August 15, 2009 at 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Kat said...

Been reading your blog for awhile now but this is my first post...just wanted to comment on the credit thing. Your credit score may be better than you think. I used to think that if I owed money I would have a low score (no debt being I virtue, I thought). Then I finally got brave enough to check my actual score...and was surprised at how high it was. Like among the top single digits of debtors. So if you're that close to paying off the cards and have not been late, you may be in a better position that you think. Just make sure to actually check your score, if you haven't already.

At any rate, congrats on the decision to move forward!...and if the first bank says no, try, try again. It can be done! (And try some credit unions as well.)

August 15, 2009 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger Mare said...

I am so happy and excited for you...You keep going and don't let anything stop you. I've got a good feeling it will all work out and happen fast!

August 15, 2009 at 8:34 AM  
Anonymous RayMan said...

After having had MANY mortgages, living through recessions and being self-employed through them all, I can tell you this: STEP1 ===> even if this bank says "no" - ask them what led them to that decision. That way, you'll know what you need to "work on" before the next attempt.
Way to go girl!
At the beginiing of each day ... resolve to live THAT one abundantly.
Well deserved regards

August 15, 2009 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger folk city said...

Great news! Congratulations and have fun farm shopping!

August 15, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

thank you all! And Kat darling, my score if bad. I checked it. I never defaulted on a thing but turns out late payments are what nickle and dimed it down. I am hoping if those reasons my score is low are elimated the house gods will have pity on me. And hey, you comment anytime, it's how I learn to meet people who read this!

August 15, 2009 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger j.c. said...

Jenna - congratulations on taking action! It's amazing how good it feels just to 'do something' that will take you closer to your goals.

It reminds me of a line in one of my favorite Indigo Girls songs, "Hammer and a Nail":

Life is more than a vision
The sweetest part is acting after making a decision

That's what you did yesterday, girl! Good luck and keep us posted!

August 15, 2009 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Floridagirl said...

Excited for you! I agree with the other posts. Don't sell yourself short. People forget that banks need us to borrow money, even if they have been pretty tight lately. Two things-I know you will research first...but make sure what kind of loan you're getting (conventional, adjustable rate, etc) and make SURE you can prepay without penalty. Good luck!

August 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I feel you -I have awful credit (thank you, ex-husband. ugh) BUT - that has clearly not stopped me from having what I want out of life. I know that sometimes it truly can't be avoided, but credit is the devil.

GOOD FOR YOU for acting! Doing! Being! That's actually where most people falter, after all. If you want it, you can have it! Go Jenna!

*And the very first time you look out across the glorious expanse that is YOUR land, you will weep. :)

August 15, 2009 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Tom Open said...

Don't forget there are many options for owning property besides a 100% mortgage loan with a bank. Often owner financing can be a good deal for both parties. Or a combination of the two. A bank will only loan up to a certain % of what the property appraises at, the owner might take back a "second" that will allow the deal to close.

Just a wild guess but your area might also have a possibility for a certain % of the debt to be satisfied on a barter arrangement? Say an elderly couple or absentee landowner is unable to keep up with the entire property. Perhaps a trade of labor or services might take care of a part of the debt. Again bridging the chasm of not quite having enough $$ to seal the deal.

I guess what I am trying to say is many times if you are "creative" additional options will indeed open up for you.

On another note your blog has mucho value me thinks. As discussed in the past traffic = $$. You may want to think about migrating to your own domain name and like a WordPress structure that gives you more control and you can treat this as a proper "asset" on your balance sheet. This would definitely be a plus on the Bank score card. Blog wise you can make the jump to the big time keeping the RSS feeds, import your existing post/topics, and truly control your blog with more monetizing options and still not alienate your audience. As far as search engine access even though you are using Google's Blogger, WordPress takes a back seat to no one for being search engine friendly.

As always best of luck,


August 15, 2009 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Farmer's Daughter said...

You should really check with the Farm Bureau. My family always gets loans from First Pioneer Farm Credit. The people there are so awesome and great to deal with. Our mortgage broker has pictures of tractors in his office. When we built our house, he was so fantastic to work with, and they keeps the loans in-house so you'll always be working with them. They really value agriculture and will work with you to make it all work out.

August 15, 2009 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Try and research what the USDA offers as farm as loans in your area. My wife and I just bought a home in a semi-rural town (county seat of an agricultural county, 19,000 population), and we were able to get a loan that didn't require any type of down payment. Make sure you ask about USDA loans.

And congratulations! It's a hell of a nerve wracking step to take, but you did it.

August 15, 2009 at 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Francesca said...

Well done, and I hope you get your own land. Farming your own land is so very different from farming rented one. And it's not just a matter of owndership and sense of belonging, it's also a matter of investments, frankly. I rent, and there's so much work around here that's just not worth doing because the land is not my own, and one day my contract will expire. Good luck.

August 15, 2009 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

Keep following your dreams, young woman. The path may not lead you to where you expected, but it will good all the same. You are a truly wonderful person. And all the more for sharing yourself with all of us. Thank you for everything.
David S. Shearer

August 15, 2009 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger Paula J. Norcott said...


My family is in the process of paying off all our debt so we too can buy a little farm. Renting one now as well. I can't wait for this day, but it scares me to death as well. Plus its more like " Hi our credit isn't great, my husband is self employed, and we have 4 kids, and we want to buy a farm." I keep picturing a broker, holding her sides and falling out of her chair with laughter. I will still do it though! Congratulations, you are on your way!

August 15, 2009 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Congratulations! This is a huge step in the direction of your dream. I am excited to watch it unfold.

August 15, 2009 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Way to go! You should be very proud of yourself for taking this first (large, very scary) step. There are many out there who only talk about their dreams. You're doing something about yours, which is something to be proud of.

August 15, 2009 at 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Annie said...

Kudos to you. I hope that you get what you want. I know you'll do well in whatever you take on.

Be sure to shop around for your mortgage, BTW. I used to work for a lender and they are not all the same. There can be a big difference in the rate and fees you'll end up paying. I know you're a reader and researcher so can I just encourage you to do your homework if you haven't already done so. :)

Best wishes!

August 15, 2009 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

I am so proud of you for taking the next step in your path to your dream. Just finding out where you stand and what is needed to be done is imperative before the next step can be taken. Too many times people fear hearing bad news or having their dream stolen that they never find out how close that next step actually is. Not you. You are a dream warrior. A sheep herding, hay hauling, grain slinging, fiddle playing, dog mushing dream warrior. And you have loads of people cheering you on. :-)

August 15, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

When you step out in faith, the universe will rise to meet you. If you never have the courage to ask for what you want, how can you ever receive it?

You've done the right thing. There is power in what you just did, even if you have to ask more than once, or in a different way or to ask someone else.

Good on ya!

ANd I just wanted to tell you that I just got your book from my library and if my headache ever lets up (I've been dealing with some major serious health stuff) I am going to read it. It looks so scrumptious.

I keep reading your blog. You're good company. Thank you. I have my fingers crossed for your dream.

August 15, 2009 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

How exciting! Just putting in out there, that you want some land of yuour own, is exciting. I hope it all comes together for you!

I am currently reading your book, and I am loving it so much. I have started reading it v-e-r-y slowly as I don't want it to end! So, I guess I just want to thank you for writing this book. It's going to be one of those books I keep as a reference for years to come, but mostl importantly I'll keep it because it is so well written!

August 15, 2009 at 11:18 PM  
Anonymous RenĂ© said...

Hey Jenna, sounds like you're taking all the right steps to make your dream a reality. I'll keep my fingers crossed that your meeting goes smoothly and that you and your dream farm find each other soon.

August 16, 2009 at 2:34 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Jenna, that's so awesome! Good for you for stepping out and taking a risk in the name of your dream. Thanks for posting this. It really gives me courage in my own life change that's quickly emerging. I have to approach people about something as well and I have no idea how their reaction will be. However, it's good to know I'm in good company and that taking that first step is the hardest and most rewarding.

Happy Monday,

August 17, 2009 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I'm thinking good thoughts for you. When do you meet with the mortgage person?

August 17, 2009 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Congrats Jenna! This is great news and I'm wishing you (and the Cold Antler Farm inhabitants) good luck!

August 18, 2009 at 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Yeah Jenna! It will happen and perhaps a little earlier than you and the sheep thought.

Any kits?

August 21, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

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