Thursday, January 13, 2011

First property, first home and dream fulfilled

                                     Skis and sunset, Hells Gulch, Benewah County, North Idaho/Ralph Bartholdt


Everyone knows what they want.
I wanted a mountain, trees that opened into a meadow where I could watch the morning sun melt dew from  the grass and deer slipping into the field at dusk.
The mountain was for hiking, skiing in winter, and elk.
I am a hunter and having elk nearby was a big part of my ideal first property.
I wanted it rural, but not too far from a main road and I wanted colorful neighbors.
Everyone knows what they want, and having grown up in northern Minnesota, with long stints in Alaska and Montana, Idaho seemed a good place to settle, to raise kids, a field of hay and trees too - tamaracks, fir and pine on the southern slopes.
And that is what we got, my young family and I.
We settled in Benewah County in Idaho's Panhandle. The place was ideal, a short drive from the St. Joe River, North Idaho's premier blue-ribbon trout water, and the valley was world-renown for its elk hunting.
I found the place while driving around. I was a reporter for the local newspaper and the job took me on sojourns into the hills to chase stories and get a look at the place.
Prices were low back then, similar to what they are now, but interest rates bumped around the 7% mark, quite a bit higher than today.
I went looking, talking to landowners, and finally to real estate agents, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted a place on Hells Gulch at the foot of a mountain called Grassy, across the road from the Hughes Ranch where neighbors talked about cats that didn't eat kibble. The bobcats got into chicken coops here and mountain lions screamed in the stream bottoms at night.
The real estate agent we worked with knew what we wanted too. We told her. She was persistent, but it was almost a year later that she called to say, I think you got it, meaning the For Sale By Owner finally agreed to sell at a fair market price.
That's what Realtors do, help buyers get what they want at a price they can afford.
We still own the place. It has the same magic as it did then.
At night the sky is a blanket of stars over our hay field and timberlands. Sun busts across our field in summer ripening the Timothy hay.
Oh, and the neighbors are colorful too, like the surrounding forests in fall.
As a Realtor with Keller Williams in Coeur d'Alene, I understand dreams and would love to help you meet yours.


Ralph Bartholdt

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