Buying Raw Land

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cchapman84, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. cchapman84

    cchapman84 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, we may have found a property that we might want to buy. We're probably going to go look at it next weekend (it's supposed to rain all weekend here, and it's mud season, so not the best time to go walking a property). My question would be, what questions do we need to ask?

    1. I know we'll need a perc test, but who usually pays for that, us or the seller?
    2. How recent should a survey have been done? 5 years, 10 years, 50 years?

    What other stuff should we ask? I really have no clue in this. I knew what to ask when we bought our house, but land is another story all together!

    Thanks everyone!

    Cameron in VT
     
  2. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    Normally, the perc test is the buyer's responsibility but you could make the sale contingent on acceptability.
    I would want a very recent survey or at the very least be able to see all marks.
    Ask about flooding, neighbors, what they like the most, what they like the least and just talk with them.
    Mostly, its not the asking, its whether it looks like home. Then worry about specifics.
     

  3. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Cameron,

    Rainy weather is an excellent time to go look at a property. Watch how the water flows. This is a good way to really see the contours of the land. It will give you an idea of where you might put a pond or tank.

    If you buy the property you'll have to deal with rainy days anyways. Better to learn about it in advance.

    Mike
     
  4. coventry49

    coventry49 Well-Known Member

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    Questions to ask:
    1. Are there any deed or covenant restrictions on the property? BIG consideration!
    2. Who owns the mineral, timber and/or water rights?
    3. Do you have deeded access to your land?
    4. Is that access going to require lots of excavation to be useable? (IOW, does the access go up over a cliff, through a boulder field, etc?)
    5. How close are the neighbors' wells? How deep did they have to go to get water? How many gallons per minute do they get?
    6. If you are going to use electricity and/or phone, how close are they to where you will be building? How much $$ per foot to run utilities to your building site?
    7. Is the building site or access located in a flood plain?
    8. Are there any easments on the property? If so, find out the exact details of each one, and determine if you can live with them.

    These are just a few of the things you will want to know, that I can thingk of right off the bat. Good luck and let us know what you think of the property!

    Barb in Montana
     
  5. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    You want to be sure you get the mineral rights and you want a current survey.

    The property next to ours just sold and the guy thought he was buying 3.5 acres. Turns out that part of the 3.5 is ours and part another homeowner next to him. We had our property surveyed and the survey recorded when we bought 9 years ago. The other homeowner has a legal description, but no survey and it isn't recorded. That homeowner has buildings on the property and has used it as theirs since 1953. The 2 of them are now in litigation over the 1.5 acres and the guy that just bought the property next to ours can't sell now until it is cleared up. Looks like he may end up with only a little over an acre.

    Mineral rights includes water in many areas. Also, as someone posted here while back, he had oil drilling on his property because he didn't own the mineral rights and there was nothing he could do about it.
     
  6. cchapman84

    cchapman84 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the responses! We still can't even find the exact piece of land. We tried to go out again tonight, the directions from the realtor said that it was 7 miles from the town line on this one road, but the road only goes 4.6 miles before intersecting with another road (different road name). So...we'll have to go see it with our realtor to find the exact piece. I'm guessing that the land is pretty close to that end of the road, since the road is only 8.6 miles long. As for neighbors, there are very few. Most of the properties on that road are seasonal, and there's maybe only 5-6 houses on the road in the town that this property is in, and at least three of those are seasonal. So, lots of privacy. We definitely don't need to worry about being in a flood plain, no river close by and it's on top of a mountain. The road is in excellent shape since it doesn't get very much traffic during the winter or mud season (.5 miles right at the town line is un-maintained). So, hopefully we'll be able to go look at it soon. I've been looking into financing already, and I think we'll be able to easily afford it even with our current mortgage on our house. I'm trying to make sure we don't stretch ourselves too thin. But I know we also don't have enough time to save the money to buy the land outright. I figured the payment that we would make would take us 10 years to save this amount, and the loan I'm looking into is only a 12 year loan.

    Thanks again for all the responses!

    Cameron in VT
     
  7. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    The 1/2 mile of "unmaintained" road is cause for great alarm. Who owns the road?

    Access to your property is by far the first & foremost thing to be looked into. Is this road publicly or privately owned? If it is privately owned, do you have a written easement? Who pays for road maintenance? If you decide to build a year round house, who will pay for snowplowing?

    Know that private roads with "shared access" can and often are nightmares. Person A wants to contribute nothing towards road maintenance, Person B wants a 2 lane blacktopped highway. You just want to be able to get in & out. These are common problems associated with "shared access" roads.

    After you've resolved the access question TO YOUR COMPLETE SATISFACTION, the next thing to do is a perc test or a soil evaluation test. Its common for potential buyers to make an offer to purchase based on a perc test that will qualify for a conventional septic system. The buyer pays for the perc test which will run $200 - $300 + excavating costs.

    Surveys may or may not be needed. If you're serious about purchasing a chuck of property, take a visit to your Register of Deeds office and get a plat map of your property. A bullheaded friend of mine told me it was a law that property had to be surveyed before it could be sold. I told him no such law exists. However, most lending institutions require a survey before they lend money.

    The rainy season is an excellent time to look at property. This will tell you how well the property drains, if indeed it does. If you can view the property after a 2 day downpour, this is an excellent time to tell one about the properties drainage & soil characteristics.

    Other factors to look at include zoning (make sure your interests are in line with what the current zoning happens to be), proximity of utilities to property, easements, property tax rates, existing roads into the property, etc.
     
  8. Momo

    Momo Well-Known Member

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    1. Do not believe anything the real estate agent tells you. Get it in writing!

    2. Deed restrictions (at least here in Alabama-check your state) are meaningless unless the land is in the city. If the deed says no mobile homes it is not enforced.
     
  9. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Momo,

    I have a feeling that in most states a deed restriction would be enforced by civil suit. A person with standing (for example, a neighbor impacted by someone ignoring the deed restriction) would have to file a suit.

    Mike