Abandoned 'farm' or bare land?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by oz in SC, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    We are looking at a few properties in NC-

    One is a 16 acre 'farm',barn in fair shape,outbuildings,house in very poor shape,fields have been in hay and seem in good condition.The sellers last offer was $85,000.There are no guarantees on the septic or well.There is power and phone service.No fencing to speak of.

    Others are bare land with no improvements.One is 20 acres of rolling land for $55,000

    The 'farm' is a nice property but the sellers are selling it as if the home is worth money.We had an inspection and the house is in all honesty not worth saving.

    With the difference in price between farm and bare land is it worthwhile paying the extra for an established(although rundown) farm?

    How much would the extras on the farm be worth do y'all think?

    I know it is very subjective but advice ia always helpful.

    Bare land seems like a huge undertaking but I imagine lots of you have done it.
     
  2. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    OZ
    If there is a workable well that is worth a great deal of the price! If you end up with property that does not have acess to water it is worthless :( That will also cause you problams when you try to put it back on the market.
    just my 2 cents
    Mike
     

  3. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Well-Known Member

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    Oz, like you said it will be subjective AND very region specific.

    For the bare land you will want to put contingencies in the contract that let you off the hook if you aren't able to find water or put in a septic that meets local codes.

    To compare the costs you will have to determine if the existing well and septic function and pass local codes. Get some local estimates for a new well, septic, and power.

    You'll have to assess how well the existing barn will meet your needs and how much it will take to keep it up.

    I have an small older farm house. It was well kept but I wish it was better insulated. Someday I would like to build a small super efficient house. Course up here in the north insulation and heating is probably a bigger concern than NC.
     
  4. hercsmama

    hercsmama Well-Known Member

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    Wish we could find 20 acres for only 55,000. Out here land is going for around 10,000-25,000 an acre. There is a place about 25 miles from here that has 5 acres and a small 3 bedroom house in ok shape for 450,000!!!! :eek:

    I think we need to go where you are!! :eek:
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    As I recall you are fiancing rather than paying cash. Thus, the difference isn't really as much as $30,000 as the difference in mortgage payments each month.

    Let's say the mortgage will be 8% for 20 years. Payoff is $8.37 per $1,000 per month. Thus, difference is $711.45 vs $460.35 or $251.10 per month. Say a new septic system cost you $2,500. It would be paid off in ten months. Say a new well cost $4,000. It would be paid off in another 16 months. Thus, in a bit over two years the difference in mortgage would pay for your well and septic system.

    Of course, the barn and other outbuildings you mentioned at the one place do have some value and, if there is an existing well and septic there, it may cost far less to bring them up to code than to construct new. If the old house is structurally sound other than termites in the foundation, it may be feasible to have it jacked up and a new termite resistent foundation put under it. A new foundation and fixing/replacing the roof allows you time to rehab between them.

    Since you don't plan to live there for some years yet, buying bare allows you to start with a clean piece paper so to speak. You can have the raw land perk tested or do your own unoffical test. Dig a hole 18" deep with a posthold digger, fill to the top with water and see how long it takes to completely drain out of the hole. On wells, a local well driller should be able to tell you how deep they have to go to find water. You might also ask around to see if there is a local water witch with a good reputation. I didn't believe it in either until I saw it done beyond any doubt in my mind - and I tend to be rather skeptical.

    On the qualify of the field themselves, it largely depends on how they were farmed. Lots of farms were abandoned because they were basically worn out. It was take, take, take without restoring anything in the form of fertilizer, lime or organic matter. However, unless you plan to do something with them, it makes little sense for you to fertilize and lime. Bushhogging once a year can work wonders by itself until you are ready to do something with them.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You are paying, in the long run, $30,000 for the improvements. For the well, possibly septic, barn, power hookups, gas tank if they have one.

    Are they worth it? They well may be.

    Or, perhaps you could borrow for an improvement loan on the other property. I have NO idea the difference in payments a second mortgage would make. You may want to look into it. Or nor.

    To be honest with you, they both sound like interesting properties.
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Living in Minnesota on the windswept prairies (air temp is -15 right now, wind chill is -40 or so), something you didn't mention would be the most valuable from the farm site - the grove. In my climate that would be worth $10,000 to me, if there is one. Waiting 10 years for a grove to fill in is miserable here. In your climate, it might be worth nothing.

    While building, it's nice to have a storage building or 2 to house some materials, work in on rainy days, etc. That would be worth $5-10,000 to me, assuming in useable condition, works with the future plans for the building site.

    I'll bet septic is not to code & worth nothing - it may allow you 1-2 years of use while construction is going on, but that is minor value.

    If the well is good, that's $5000 or so. If it's bad, will cost you to close it...

    Electrical hookup is probably less than you would want, but it is there & will work. While you might upgrade later, it would be of value to me, $1000 or so, to have electricity there & working.

    All of which, would mean nothing to me. Which view do I like better? :) :) :) If it's going to be 'home', a dollar & cents list wouldn't mean much at all.

    Do you like the barn? Or do you have a vision of your own barn you want to build?

    Pick that one....

    --->Paul
     
  8. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Here's how I'd look at the two deals: If I were starting from scratch, would I build what the abandoned farm will look like? If the answer is no, then I'd think twice about the farm. Personally, I like clean slates rather than cleaning up someone else's mess. Generally, it's more per square foot to fix up than build ground up.
    Good luck.
    BW
     
  9. Ken mentioned the unofficial perk test of digging an 18 inch deep hole, filling it with water and seeing how long it takes to drain. What kind of time line are we looking at for an effective septic system for the water to drain?

    Thanks
     
  10. tkrabec

    tkrabec Well-Known Member

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    Check with the locals about building new stuff at the bare land. It may be easier daling with the govenment on remodeling/repairing existing structures.

    -- Tim
     
  11. Mnsunset

    Mnsunset Active Member

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    Also check to see if you can get a bare land loan in your state. When we purchased our place (in'79, so this is probably out of date) the house was so bad that the Mn lenders would not borrow on it and they did not do staight bare land loans at that time. We had to get our loan in IA. Just one more thing to check if you haven't done so already.
     
  12. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    The unoffical perk test I mentioned is an eyeball/gut reaction test only. If the water drains away within a couple of minutes, likely you have good draining. If it takes an hour or so to notice much of a drop, then the draining is very questionable. Check with the local Department of Health or Sanitation. They can likely give you what an official perk test would require. May require a deeper hole kept filled with water for a certain period and then the drop per hour is measured. If the soil is saturated, a drop of 2 1/2 inches per hour is the minimum acceptable according to Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country by Les Scher.

    Locally they don't even do the hole test anymore. A 'soil engineer' looks at the soil map for the site and makes a determination from it.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  13. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    P.S. Going around a property with a posthole digger can give you a pretty good idea of the the top- and subsoils are like.
     
  14. harmony

    harmony Well-Known Member

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    I wish you would post this on the other site.

    It's a lot of work to buy an old place and have to clean up the mess that was left behind. (ask me how I know this.)If you buy naked land you can work on it as you can afford it. You could work toward putting in septic and well, then almost any bank will make you a construction loan to build. Rolling land means differnt thigns to different realtors. Ask if there is a road in, and a house site leveled. Around here, "rolling" means "mountain side." If you have to have a lot of dozer work done, it may not be worth the price.
     
  15. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    HOLD THE PRESSES - I agree with Harmony here. The only way to find out about the viability of the existing well and septic is to have experts look at them. I did that at my place before I signed on the dotted line. Will the "rolling" terrain work for you? Spending a couple of hundred here or there will save lots of headaches in the long run. You can always put inspection contingencies into the contract.

    And.....there's really no need to post this at the other :mad: place :no: . Your experts are here and giving good replies.
     
  16. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    We have already hed the farm property inspected.

    The inspector couldn't test the well because the pump is not working-also the pump is approximately fifty years old :eek:.The well is INSIDE the enclosed back porch-kind of odd I tjought but I guess it would stay relatively warm in Winter.

    The septic wasn't able to be tested because of course there was no water.He also said it could be as simple as a hole lined with rocks.

    The sellers are unwilling to offer any guarantees because simply put they don't know.It is an heirs property and no-one has any idea what does or doesn't work.

    The only out we have if we agree on a price is that we will require bank financing and a bank won't loan on a property for more than it appraises for.

    The bare land we haven't looked at as it came up after we got back from NC looking at the house.
     
  17. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Oz:

    The well on the back porch use to be fairly common. Usually started out as a handdug well. Initially water should have been drawn up by bucket or a pitcher pump. When electric became available it would be capped with a pump installed. Next time you are on the property take along a heavy hammer and length of say 1/2" rod about 4' long. Look under the house to where the sewage outlet heads. Probe the area in that direction with the rod down to about 18". If you hit something solid work around it. A septic tank would most likely be a rectangle.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  18. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    oz
    I had my well tested in December, the company brought their own gas powered pump. You can find someone. Call the people who drill wells in the area.

    Regarding the septic, check with the county. I know the property is old, but they may have records of inspections or permits. If none exist, get the name of the inspector and call the person. Ask them what to do. Ask about temporary septic systems for use until you can bring the old system up to code or replace it. The septic probably needs to be up to code only if you move in. So, if you are working on the property on weekends and vacations you can use temporary facilities. It may not be "legal" to use a bucket and sawdust, but they may accept a porta-potty or commercial composting toilet or the old septic until you are ready to move in. Its to the counties advantage to get the property back in use.

    If you haven't already, put a deadline on your offer. I don't remember if you said what the appraisal value was. I bet the appraiser did not add value for the well.
    gobug
     
  19. tacomee

    tacomee Member

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    I'd lean towards the old farm for a number of reasons....


    1. It's a place that's been settled before. There's water there even if the well is not functioning. Lots of raw land is *raw* becuase of wind, bad soil, lack of water ect...

    2. The house and outbuildings have value. If nothing else you can tear the house down by hand and get a lot of good wood out of it. Even if you pour a new slab, put in new septic, and drag in a doublewide-- you're still not starting from scratch.

    3.A hayfield is worth twice as much as resently clear cut rolling land-- so you may not be paying much for that house really.

    good luck!
     
  20. harmony

    harmony Well-Known Member

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    tacomee- have you ever actually pulled down an old house and reused the wood? You have to pull out all those nails by hand so you can reuse the wood. Not really worth the effort most of the time.

    SteveTX- drag that wad of panties out of your butt. It's making you hateful. :eek: :haha: