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Daniel Boone Real Estate

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Posted 03-25-2010 at 10:36 PM by Roy Sanborn
Updated 03-25-2010 at 10:31 PM by Roy Sanborn

“Fer Sale. Two room log kabin with stone fireplace, specil wood floor, gun ports front and back, and privy out bac on over 50 acres of prime land on the Kanta-ke River in Boonesborough. Lokated at first bend below fort, along stream to large boulder, straight back to top of third ridge. Grate privacee. Owner needs more elbow room.”

I just finished reading a book about Daniel Boone while on vacation. Yup, the same guy Fess Parker played on TV who could, among other things, wrestle with a bear and save the whole town from the Indians. While many of the tall tales about Dan are just a little doubtful (and he didn’t wear a coonskin cap), he did in fact become a true legend in his own time and was celebrated in the colonies and Europe as a frontier hero. Boone was every bit the woodsman, hunter, explorer, Indian fighter, and leader of men that he was made out to be and then some. What I really hadn’t thought about until I read the biography, was how important real estate was to Daniel Boone and the other settlers of our early frontiers. Daniel, his large extended family, and many others that were willing to follow, moved around an awful lot. They were driven by the desire to find a better life for themselves and to see what was on the other side of the next mountain range or past the next river. The lust for new, more fertile, and cheaper land kept everyone moving West out of Virginia into Kentucky and then into Missouri and Ohio. I wouldn’t have wanted to be his real estate agent (if there was such a job back then) as it was a pretty dangerous time. Sometimes the settlers moved to get away from marauding Indians who became just a little more than miffed about Daniel and company encroaching on their lands and killing all their game. They really did massacre and scalp settlers (including women and children) and, unfortunately, we didn’t act much better toward them. That kind of explains the gun ports that were standard equipment in each cabin built back then.

The story of Daniel Boone is a story about real estate. He hunted and explored the unknown wilderness to the West and then helped others settle the new frontier. As more settlers followed him into the frontier, things always got a little too crowded and the once plentiful game soon became scarce. Boone always needed more “elbow room” and had to move on. Dan was also one of the first surveyors on the frontier and was hired by investors and the “well-to-do” to stake out claims for them on property they had never even seen. Boone made his living off the land by hunting and trapping, but in his later years ol’ Dan tried to make a full time living out of surveying and land speculation. While he could survey as good as anyone back then, his grasp of business practices did not come anywhere near his great hunting prowess so as a result he was always in debt. Surveying was not very precise in the wilderness and they would often use just the physical characteristics of the land to describe the claim. Descriptions like: “from the large oak tree marked with an ‘X’ to the edge of the cane break, turning west and go to a small brook…” soon lead to problems as the physical characteristics of the lands changed. Trees were cut down, boulders were moved, and rivers changed their course causing boundary markers to disappear. The lack of modern surveying equipment led to overlapping claims on properties and lawsuits that kept colonial lawyers busy for decades. These overlapping or “shingle” lots could also be located on property that had been previously granted to someone else by England years before. Many settlers had to move on after building a cabin on what they thought was their property only to find the land belonged to someone else.

Today’s settlers still move around a lot, just not as much as they used to. Maybe today’s buyers aren’t as brave as Daniel Boone, but hopefully they will get that wanderlust back in the coming months. There aren’t any more Indians to be afraid of and gun ports are no longer standard in today’s homes (although I think they may make a comeback). If you like true life adventure stories the book, simply called “Boone” by Robert Morgan, is worth reading. If nothing else, you will clearly understand the need for title insurance! Thanks, Dan.

February is a short month and we were a little short on sales, too! There were 34 homes in the towns in our Lakes Region report that found new owners last month compared to 39 in February of 2009. The average sales price of $279,480 was up slightly from last February’s average of $273,846. Just about 65% of the sales were under $200,000, with only 21% of the sales over $400K. Perhaps we should make all the mid-priced homes into duplexes to get them sold? On a rolling 12 month basis ending on 2/28/10, we had 731 sales at an average price of $299,312 for the period compared to 674 sales at an average price of $336,646 for the 12 month period ending 2/28/09. So our total sales are still up 8.5% for the 12 month window but the average sales number is down 11%.
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