Buying first piece of land? What should I know?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by onthewater2181, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. onthewater2181

    onthewater2181 Member

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    I am looking at buying my first piece of land for homesteading. What would you would have liked to have known buying your first piece of land. I was curious what to look for, and what to avoid?

    Stay low, stay quiet, and you will be O. K... ~ John Wayne.
     
  2. Coloneldad5

    Coloneldad5 Well-Known Member

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    Swamp land.:pound:

    Seriously, a lot depends upon exactly what you are looking to do with it. In my opinion the more land the merrier, but reality is budgets tend to limit what you get. However you can often get more if you are willing to find a place that requires more work to improve or establish.

    Ask lots of questions. I once looked at a piece of land that appeare to be a great deal, problem was the water table there made it impossible to build anything on it and other zoning issues would have prevented me from using it the way I wanted to.

    Talk to the neighbors. They can be wealth of information on the history of the land and how it works (irrigation, animal issues, soil issues, etc.). They can also give you a feel for the folks you'll be dealing with. Having a great piece of land can be spoiled by some lousy neighbors.

    Do research on any and all parcels you are looking at. I looked up my land (before buying it) on Google Earth and noticed that at the street level view image (3 years old) it had the realtor sign posted which told me it had been on the market for a long time and thus the seller would potentially be more willing to deal. We went low, but apparently not quite low enough as he pretty much took us up on it too quickly.
     

  3. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Depending on what you would like to do on the land first and foremost is water availability AND potability. Next for me would be traffic patterns in the area and then soil condition/"lay of the land." Zoning/building restrictions are also important if you plan to have any animals even a few chickens.
     
  4. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I see too many folks that buy a piece that's wooded and want to know how to turn it into pasture or garden. Conversely, I see folks with fields want to know how to make it into productive forest. Buy what you want, rather than try to make it into what you want.
    There are a hundred different things to look out for.

    Like minded neighbors helps. If you want to drag a shack in and have dogs and free range chickens, neighbors with a nice house and beautiful lawn might not take to you. If you want peace and quiet, and neighbors have three teenagers and three dirt bikes or fourwheelers,you won't be happy.

    Clean water, good soil, good drainage are important. Good schools and available jobs are important to most folks.
     
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  5. Micheal

    Micheal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not knowing your definition of what "homesteading" is it may be a hard question to answer.
    Generally speaking I'd like to know if the land is free and clear, meaning; no right of ways, sold mineral rights, leans, etc. What are the zoning restrictions if any? Good water and drainage both play a part also. Neighbors buy enough land and you don't have to really worry bout that so much.......
    Again it depends on what your "homesteading" wants are?
     
  6. MichaelK!

    MichaelK! Well-Known Member

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    Since your monicer is "onthewater", I'm guessing that you're on the west side of the state? Is that correct?

    If you were on the east side of the state the first priority above all else would be the availability of water and your water rights. On the west side though I'd suggest your legal access to the property comes first. Zoning I think is a lot more important on the west side than the east side.

    When we purchased our land, we hired a local lawyer to write and evaluate the contracts we negociated. I recommend you do the same. Find one that has experience with property law.

    Note that Washington I think is one of the states that tries to control rainwater collection. Look into that if you have ideas of collecting supplemental water off your cabin roof. I believe there may be exemptions for small-scale personal use, but you don't want to find out the hard way.
     
  7. Karenrbw

    Karenrbw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Check for easements. Our neighbor has an easement and can drive across our land to get to his pasture. The power company may have an easement to come maintain power lines. There has been an issue in the news lately about one of the power companies in Missouri. They have 100 foot easement for their powerlines and they are going on people's property and removing all plants that have the "potential" of growth of more than 12 feet from the entire easement.
     
  8. ninny

    ninny Well-Known Member

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    Check to see if it's in a flood plain. I almost bought a piece of property, exactly what I was looking for, that looked like a river was running thru it when it came a hard rain.

    .
     
  9. tkrabec

    tkrabec Well-Known Member

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    5 acres and independence(book)
    reading it now.
     
  10. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    As with any purchase.... the more you know about the product... the better you can evaluate how it will serve your needs. There are many things that can affect your purchase, and folks here have tossed out some pretty good advice so far. Water... is potable water available? Is there plenty of water to take care of all your needs? What are the water rights issues in your area? Springs, wells, old wells that could be a problem due to contamination? Access to the property is very important.... public road or private? Are there easements or restrictions that could interfere with your plans? Deeds... there are several kinds... what you are looking for is one that guarantees you actually own the property in its entirety. Survey.... where are the boundaries? are they clearly marked and are there any neighbors contesting them? Soil usage... what crops are you wanting to grow and will the soil be adequate for them? What are the fence issues in your area? will you be responsible for maintenance of them even if you dont raise livestock? Environmental hazards on the property? I once turned down a pretty good deal on an otherwise dandy parcel of property because a previous owner had allowed a tire recapping company to dump 127 earth mover tires on the back of the property. After checking around and finding out that it would cost me 150 bucks each to have them disposed of properly I opted out of the deal. Are there other problems with the property that could come back to bite you later. Then of course there are things tax liens, mineral rights issues, and a host of other disasters that can take a pretty nice looking piece of property and destroy its usefulness to you.
     
  11. RyanTN

    RyanTN Member

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    I recommend reading the book "Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country" by Lee and Carol Scher. I read it over and over for a year as we were looking for our first ever home purchase and property. This book gave me the confidence to buy our dream place without a buyers or sellers real estate agent! I used a sample contact in the book as my template for my place and hired a lawyer to make everything legal and to do the title research. This book taught me to do it myself and save several thousand dollars in Realtor fees! Good luck!
     
  12. ronbre

    ronbre Brenda Groth Supporter

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    get the best soil test you can, check for chemicals as well as normal stuff.
    get a good water test..and make sure you have good year around water and preferably that moves itself.

    check to see if you are in a flood plain or in a tornado alley..those are both very dangerous and of course hurricaines if they are nearby often or fire.

    look at what is growinig on the land...do the plants look healthy (weeds whatever)..if not..be aware that there might be some problems with the soil.

    talk to the neighbors and find out what they know about the property (and scope them out)..

    make sure there are no leins againist the property that might pop up

    hope this helps.
     
  13. onthewater2181

    onthewater2181 Member

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    There is so many great ideas here. What I am looking at is property on the eastern side of Washington state. I currently live on the western side and I am tired of the gray clouds and rain. The piece that I am currently looking at is twenty acres, with half trees and half pasture. The property is on a south facing slope, with a small one room cabin with electrical, septic and well. It is ideally what I have been looking for. I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas before I made my first offer. My plan is to build my own home to live in and start a small homestead. I think someone asked what does Homestead mean to you? Homestead to me is home, where I can grow my own and live with a somewhat self sustainable life. Thank you to everyone that has come up with all the great ideas. Gives me a bunch of stuff to work with and think about. Thanks again.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
     
  14. megan.

    megan. Member

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    I was born and raised in NE WA, still here. Make sure you look when it's not spring, because it is deceptively beautiful here that time of year. :) I love living here, but it dries out substantially in the summer, so you have to have more than you would think in pasture for any grazing animals. You will definitely get a break from clouds and rain though - it's always sunny here in the summer!
     
  15. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    I grew up in eastern Oregon.... pretty much the same weather patterns... sunny all summer cept when you have hay cut and ready to bale. ;)
     
  16. pheasantplucker

    pheasantplucker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    water
    survey
    liens and easements
    road frontage
    timber and mineral rights
    soil condition / composition/ph / slope
    sun exposure climate
    neighbors
    improvements or structures
    zoning restrictions
    nice to have a mix of open and woods
    distance for commute to work
    You don't want to overextend yourself money=-wise and not have money to make other improvements
     
  17. coolrunnin

    coolrunnin Well-Known Member

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    Shoot around here you cut your hay all but guarantees rain.
     
  18. oregon woodsmok

    oregon woodsmok Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [[[[[.......you cut your hay all but guarantees rain......]]]]]

    Yeah. In the summer, when the storm clouds appear, we say "Look. Someone cut their hay."
     
  19. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    First I want to know where its at.
    That means a survey.
    Second I want to know what I can do with it. That means checking out the easements and encumbrances.....a lawyer might be worth it here.
    Third I want to know its mine that means a woven wire fence about 7 feet tall with hot wires on top and a hot wire on each side near the bottom on a separate charger.
     
  20. Big Dave

    Big Dave Well-Known Member

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    Title insurance, title insurance, title insurance!