Can't afford land

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cchapman84, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. cchapman84

    cchapman84 Well-Known Member

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    I'm starting to think that we're not going to be able to afford the kind of land we want in our area soon. Prices are already topping $4,000 an acre in some spots, and even "cheap" land is over $1,000. We've found one piece of property in the area where the price is under $1,000 an acre, but it's 50 acres for $45,000 (which is out of our price range at the moment). We've found a couple of small parcels that are within our price range (15 acres for $20,000, 3.4 acres for $10,000), but I'd like a larger piece of land. Our biggest problem is coming up with a down payment. We're finally starting to get out of debt, but I'm afraid that by the time we're able to save enough for a decent down payment, land prices are going to skyrocket and we won't be able to afford land in our area anyway. I guess I'm just feeling very discouraged right now. I feel like we need to buy land soon, even if we don't do anything on it for a few more years. I don't want to leave this area (we both lived here as children, all of our family is here, along with all of our friends). Thanks for listening to my rant!
     
  2. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    How much land do you actually need? I can't imagine anyone needing more than 15 acres or so unless they want to do some bigtime large animal raising.

    Get John Seymour's "The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It," and M.G. Kains' "Five Acres and Independence." It'll put into perspective how much land you really need to make a go at homesteading or small-scale farming.

    Buy the best land you can with the money you have...not the most land.
     

  3. Kazahleenah

    Kazahleenah Disgruntled citizen

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    I agree with you Fin. years ago, I homesteaded on 13.2 acres and always had way more of everything than we needed. (back then the family size was 5 plus the average 3 friends of the kids that were always staying at our place). We had 77 milk goats and a 5 acre garden on that plot and did just fine. Better to own 5 acres than wish for 20 is my humble opinion.
    Best of luck!!
    Kaza

    PS.... Why not buy what you can now... if the prices are going up steadily, you can always sell that to get the downpayment on more land later. Just an afterthought.
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I'm in with fin. Buy whatever you can get into now and later, when things have improved for you financially, either add to it or trading it in on a place more to your liking.

    We all have to start somewhere. My ex was like that, wanted a huge log home on top of our own mountain, owing all we could see. Was always resistent to starting small and paying as we went, trading up or building up.
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    When I lived in town, we bought a first rural property for $13,000.
    It was really one acre cleared that we used for gardening, chickens, ducks and 2 beehives was plenty to keep busy part time a few hours every day during the spring to fall months.
    Moved to bigger property and for the gardens, I still used only about an acre or less. Spend a lot of time mowing grass on about 5 acres, which is probably a crazy idea, but it keeps the bugs down. :rolleyes:
    So, going by what I could afford ($13,000) in your area I would be more than happy with 3 or 4 acres. Mind you, it's nice to have the big spread next to wilderness if you can find it, but that's probably something you might have to move far to find.
     
  6. vegascowgirl

    vegascowgirl Try Me

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    been hearing in the news lately that some states (such as S.Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas) are offering free land. I haven't looked into the logistics of the deal, but from what I hear they are doing this in order to bring population and business back to some dying areas. Think that I heard that you have to move on to the land within just a few months, and live there for at least two years befor you get the actual deed. Sorry I don't have more info. or a website, but think it was a .gov site. might be worth looking up, if you don't mind moving away from where you are now.
    here is a link to an article in the USA Today about just such a thing http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-02-08-land-cover_x.htm
     
  7. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    yep, start small. or you could do what i did to get my first place- i found someone who was willing to give me a land contract. i paid her an agreed upon amount for five years, then went to the bank to finance the rest, with the equity in the house standing for the down payment. of course, you have to be sure and make all your payments on time, because this person will also be your credit reference at the bank.

    i sold it at three time what i paid for it after 11 years, and bought a bigger, nicer place, and may well do so again. worked good for me.
     
  8. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

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    If we didn't have horses, our 5 acres would have been plenty for the 6 goats and 60+ chickens and huge garden. You may not need as much as you want. Mr. Seymour's book is wonderful. I found it a the library and that's what we used to calculate how much land we needed. Just bought 20 acres (19.91 to be exact) and shouldn't need any more than that.
     
  9. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    If you can afford the 15 acres for 20K, then I'd take it if I were you. My 83 year old FIL tells the stories of homesteading growing up and I was amazed to learn they did all they did on just 7 acres.

    You are right about land continuing to go up and up and I don't think it will change. We bought our land in 1996 for $1250 acre and that was high for this area. Now, land is going for $7000 to $8000 per acre and there is hardly a thing for sale. I see people from out of the area driving around all the time just looking for something.

    Get what you can now.
     
  10. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    kazaleenah said:We had 77 milk goats and a 5 acre garden on that plot

    man, that is huge!! i would have liked to have seen that! plenty of fertilizer... LOL!!
     
  11. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Happiness is not getting what you want but in wanting what you've got.
    Read the books everyone mentioned and it will help you see how efficient you can be with a small amount of land.

    Because 15 or 50 acres, you will always wish you had more if the reason is privacy or hiking around. At least we do, but realistically we don't need it.

    Plus it always costs more than you think to build or live somewhere (life happens) so tying up all your $ in just the land is almost poor financial management. You can do what marvella did, take 2 acres and make it a sweet neat place, sell, and start again.

    The perfect place usually evolves, it isn't there at the start. Be patient and make your mistakes on this starter farm, learn and plan for the future.
     
  12. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    A couple thoughts come to mind.

    Land is not a generic. Other than providing privacy and a buffer, going for more land (generically) does not necessarily mean a better deal. You could always look at subdividing the larger parcel with a friend if you think the conditions of the larger parcel are more conducive to your needs.

    If you are planning on staying in a particular area then you will be playing the land property game if you are considering trading up/selling to buy another place. In that circumstance I would look at property with a house on it that you can fix up and then sell. If you hold it for 2 years your gain (I don't think most of us have to worry about the $250k limit on profit) is tax free. The downside to this approach is that you will not be developing "YOUR" place in the meantime.

    We went the opposite direction and bought raw land and have added parcels over time. It seems like another parcel comes available right when we have the money saved to do something else (improvements). Because there is subdivision going on in the general area (minimum 5 acre lots) we are conscious of the fact that we have limited options to expand in the future (can't afford to buy a property for the land if a house is on it).

    Our goal is to make our land at least carry itself. That means the payments we would have made on the mortgage can be used for improvements and/or to pay down the mortgage(s) faster. (Note, we have seperate mortgages on different parcels, not multiple mortgages on a single parcel).

    You really need to think about your circumstances and goals. Each person posting advice here is giving it based on their own experiences. You should come up with a plan that meets your needs.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  13. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think you've gotten some good advice here. There is a saying in the real estate world... "Don't wait to buy.... Buy and then wait" In a nutshell, if properties are going up, and they always do in time, take what you have now and start small. In a few years you can sell it and trade up to what you really want. In order to avoid the tax implications of selling it at a profit all you have to do is live on it 2 out of 5 years. So, techically speaking you could sell and move every 2 years if you want to. IRS allows a married couple $500,000. profit margin, $250,000. for a single person.

    Good luck

    Jan
     
  14. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't get discouraged!!! You can do so many things on very little...we are a good example of this..
    We have one tiny acre...family of 4, 3 dogs, 3+ milk goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and we raise 2 hogs for meat each year. We have a nice size garden, all of the traditional "flower beds" have strawberries, asparagus, herbs, and such in them. We would love to have 15-20 acres but we are realists...
    we would rather have what we have, work for ourself, drive older cars and stay at home with our kids INSTED OF both of us working, kids in public school, have new cars all with 20 acres (because that is what it would take for us)
    We love our house, and land...
    go see my webpage/blog and see what we do on a "Tiny Homestead"
    it is all in the way you look at it....

    Belinda
     
  15. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would grab that 15 acres because 15 acres is better than no acres. Plus, when you find the acreage you want you have the 15 to help you finance it.

    Personally the 96 we ended up buying was the perfect amount. We wanted privacy. Couldn't get that on 15 acres, or even the 40 we originally thought would be plenty. In fact, we'd like to buy out the neighbor to the south of us. Then we'd have the perfect place!
     
  16. 59classics

    59classics Member

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    wow. Land prices here in the midwest, where I live, are running $7000 an acre. Some even more. But I managed to find an old farm house with 2.83 acres at a reasonable price.


    K
     
  17. boren

    boren Well-Known Member

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    I know everyone is saying how you should buy now the prices are only going up. Over time of course they are right, though you might need to wait 15 years.

    Prices have risen very quickly over the last few years due to a number of reasons. Interest rates are at all time lows. There's now all sorts of options to get 1,2 or 3 loans to buy the land. It's fairly easy to buy a house/land with no money down. Since interest rates are low, this works to some extent.

    The question is what's going to happen when interest rates rise. It has to rise at some point, will the bubble burst? Carefull if you look at it as an investment, it's easy to invest in a market that's going up.
     
  18. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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    These are two of the books that helped me change my perspective on what I "need." I'll add another, Joel Salatin's "You Can Farm."