When we decided to move to Kelowna, the goal was use it as a base to find out where we eventually wanted to live, and to purchase some land. Travis and I feel very strongly about having our own land, to farm and raise food on. We not only want to become more self-sufficient, but also to learn some of those very important life skills that our ancestor knew so well. There is so much to learn, and I am so excited to start learning.
First thing first though: we need land. Our goal is to purchase something soon, so we needed to start shopping. The Okanagan is a vast region, renowned for it’s great weather and fertile soil. The thing is though, most of the best spots are taken up by wineries and orchards, and we will need to be a little further off the beaten path in order to keep the cost down. We don’t know where we would want to move to, but we decided to look around Kelowna first.
Fast track to today. This morning we met up with a local realtor who specializes in larger plots of land, and we drove around Kelowna’s countryside looking at different options on the market. I have to say, this was a reality shock. We knew that the region was expensive, but we had not realized just how much.
- Every plot of land we saw was above $300,000. On average, a more realistic cost for a 10 acre plot is about $400,000, or more if you want something nicer.
- British Columbia requires those purchasing land only (land without a house or something you can live in) to pay 50% down at the time of purchase. This is a serious complication.
Now to complicate matters even more, every lot of land we saw was at altitude. Kelowna is already about 1000 ft up – these were at about 4000 ft up. This means that while in Kelowna there is no snow and we are starting to see the beginnings of spring, every plot of land was snowed in. Further to this, the altitude effects the growing zone: we would be getting a zone 4 at best, and would not be able to grow any of the things that attracted us to the region.
Lastly, most of the plots we saw were pretty much uneven and on solid rock. There wasn’t much soil or good growing areas. For example, this property bellow had a great view, but part of the land was straight up and continued above the cliff, where we would never be able to get to.
The last plot of land we saw was our favorite. I had seen it advertised all summer long and it really spoke to me. It has a lot of good things going for it: it is a Christmas tree farm, it has a stream running through the property, it has flat plateaus, you cannot see the road of the neighbors, it is located across the street from thousand of acres of Crown land, and it has a cabin on the property.
The cons: the cabin is infested with rats and needs major TLC, and they are asking $399,000 for the property. Top this off with the zone limitations, it just feels like we would be doing a lot of compromises in order to get land. Really, as much as we may want land, it doesn’t any sense to pay so much for it. The point of all of this is to be more independent, not completely mortgaged out and indebted for the rest of our lives.
Speaking about this with our realtor, we realized that to live here we would need to start looking much further away from the town and cities in order to be able to afford land. But even then, how much would that cost us? And with neither of us having jobs we can do from home, and the economy not being so great around here, how realistic is this?