From Squatters to Land Owners-Finding Madrone Hill

Joe and I love driving out and about in the Texas Hill Country, exploring country roads and looking at property. We always envisioned having our own little piece of heaven and dreamed of what our home would look like. Joe and I really weren’t in the market to buy anytime soon, but we always enjoyed the drive down the roads less traveled. We always picked a new direction to drive because we didn’t know where we wanted our future homestead to end up, but we knew it needed to be within an hour of my work and family.

One weekend Joe and I happened to end up on a country road about an hour’s drive from our home. As we bounced down the rocky, rutted, caliche road, Joe spotted a FOR SALE sign hanging on a gate. He pulled over to the side of the road and decided to hop the barbed wire fence to have a look. NO…WAY…., I refused to follow after him-wild bulls, mean dogs, men with guns-no thanks. He hopped the fence and was gone for at least 20 minutes. I was getting a bit worried. He finally made it back to the truck, exclaiming that I HAD to walk this property and see the view. He assured me there was nothing to fear. We’re in Texas, people are friendly, people do this all the time….RIGHT??? So I hopped the fence and after 10 minutes of walking decided to put an offer on the property. So pulling out his cell phone, Joe called the realtor-an offer had been accepted less than 24 hours ago. We were very disheartened at losing our dream property.

Hopping in the truck and going a bit further down the road, we spotted one of the local neighbors. He explained to us a little about the area and the few neighbors, and told us, “If you want to see a view, go over the property adjacent to mine and walk to the back of it. It’s owned by a family who hasn’t been out this way for years.”

Excited about what we might see, we decided to take a look. Finding our way to the far side of the property proved to be difficult; there were no trails at all. As Joe and I walked the property, or more like crawled, we dodged underneath cedar branches and picked our way through brambles until we reached the back of the property- Absolutely beautiful! A view in almost every direction. It was even more beautiful than the previous property we had wanted to purchase.

The property wasn’t for sale, but we found out it was owned by four brothers who lived out of state. We decided to keep an eye on the property and, at the right time, when we were ready to buy, we would contact the owners and make an offer.

Every so often Joe and I would drive into the country and just check on "our" property. Our family laughingly called up ‘squatters’ because we talked about owning it all the time! We even called it “our" property! Lol!  This probably went on for about 10 months. One day when we drove out to “our" property, there was a ‘For Sale By Owner’ sign on the property! We were so excited, and the timing for us to purchase property was good! We quickly called and made an offer. There were two -10 acre tracts for sale. One 10 acre tract already had an offer on it-you guessed it-the neighbor who told us about the place. We ended up making the offer on the second tract of land.  

Once Joe and I closed on the property we immediately started exploring all the places we hadn’t walked (when we were “squatters”). We realized there were so many Texas Madrones on the property, placing the road where we disturbed as few as possible was definitely a priority. We ended up walking the 10 acres for months before we decided on where to place the entrance and road through the property.

So that’s how we found Madrone Hill. I think it was a God thing.

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