There’s an old real estate adage, “If you believe that, I’ve got some swamp land to sell you.”
I was recently hired to scout some land for a home site and create a design for a new house. The owner described his land as being 2400 prime acres next to the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge. That’s in southern Georgia. Right away I was leery, because in Swamp Lingo there’s no such concept as “next to.” Swamps don’t stop abruptly at a fence or road. They just go on and on until they eventually shallow themselves to nothing, but they’ll stay swampy to the very end. The only thing that’s “next to” a swamp is more swamp.
So, I gave him my next-to-the-swamp lecture, then asked how he came to own the land, and how had he found 2400 prime acres beside a muddy plain. He proudly explained that his secret land-search tool was modern technology at its finest – Google Earth Pro. “I never even had to go there. All I had to do,” he explained, “was use my computer in New York City to visually inspect the land with real-time satellite imagery. It was obvious that the land I was being offered was dry and very usable for living and hunting.” He said that for only three million dollars he had purchased the property a few years back, and now he was ready to build the first of several structures for his private hunting preserve. Then he added in a very complimentary tone, “And I want you to design the entire estate.”
“Thank you,” is what I said, but “Uh oh,” is what I thought.
I’ll skip all the stuff about traveling, and looking, and backtracking, and to-ing and fro-ing, and failing to find dry land at his GPS coordinates, and calling him for GPS confirmation, and standing bewildered in the middle of what I was certain was an alligator supper club, and me dressed in khaki slacks and a white shirt and being sure that to a hungry alligator I must look like a dollop of sour cream on a burrito. What I will tell you is that the right question to ask him finally occurred to me. It was : “What is the date on the satellite images you used?” His reply : “August 2007.”
“Ah ha!” I said. “That explains a lot. You bought your land during the worst drought in nearly all of recorded Okefenokee history. No wonder it was dry.”
Along with the return of normal rainfall, the area has returned to it’s normal state of swampination and alligatoryness. The only hunting will be him searching for the $3,000,000.00 sitting on the bottom of the swamp, but he’ll never find it. All that money has turned to mud.
The lesson is : Don’t use high tech gadgets and apps as substitutes for actually touching the thing you want to buy, whether it’s a car, a diamond, or two thousand plus acres of prime hunting land. Though it doesn’t, Technology wants you to think it knows all the answers. And, if you believe that, I know a guy who’ll sell you some swamp land,…..prime, too.
Below is an example of what he thought he bought.
Below is an example of what he actually bought.
Andy Bozeman is the author of
IF I’D KNOWN THAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN I BUILT MY HOUSE, I MIGHT’VE GONE CAMPING INSTEAD
Available from Amazon Kindle
See similar educational articles related to the American dwelling industry at
American Home Journal, also by Andy Bozeman.