Dream property?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SkizzlePig, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. SkizzlePig

    SkizzlePig Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I are fed up with the suburban lifestyle and looking to purchase raw land or a former homestead and “get back to the Earth”. That said, we’re trying to develop a prioritized list of desirable features our future (dream) land would possess. Obviously there’s no “perfect” piece of property, but we’re trying to logically determine what’s important to us so that the emotions of the moment don’t over take us.

    Thank you so much for your consideration in helping us make the best decisions. We’re looking to glean from other’s wisdom, be it mistake or success.

    And now onto the prioritized list (1 being most important) … please criticize and critique. I’d rather know the good and bad of our selections before we start looking at properties.

    1 Zoned FF, EFU
    If the zoning’s not right nothing else really matters.
    2 Owner Contract
    We want to do an owner contract, because it will likely offer us the greatest financial flexibility.
    3 Under $400K
    We’re not made of money and we think we can still build a functioning hobby farm after paying (at the most $400,000) for the land. It’s likely going to be some calculation based on price per acre.
    4 Roughly 60 to 180 acres
    We plan to only use about 40 to 60 acres for crop, settlement and pasture … the rest is just a big backyard.
    5 Good or treatable well water
    While we will have a whole house filter system, we want to water to be of good quality … or would we?
    6 Good or amendable soil
    We don’t want to be forced to use annual chemicals in the soil. We want to do (as much as possible) organic farming, not because we’re really “green”, but mostly for health reasons.
    7 Good mix of pasture/ rolling/ woods
    We want to have enough arable land to grow crops for the entire family, enough pasture land for a small number of livestock, and enough wooded area to provide cheap heat.
    8 No easements through property (easements to is okay)
    We really don’t want anyone just gallivanting through our property be it neighbors or the power company.
    9 Farm friendly local and county government
    Some municipalities are more agri-friendly than others. I would rather not have to fight with my local government as so many other hobby and larger scale farms have had to.
    10 Zoning for 3 residential structures
    We are considering having other family join us on the property if they so desire. It would be nice to have this ability whether or not family elects to exercise it.
    11 Former homestead
    We would like to reap the benefits of having someone else much smarter that had to work much harder plan the farm. Theoretically, the house would be in the best location as would the pasture, the barn, the shop, the … fill in the blank.
    12 South facing hillside
    We would like to eventually explore alternative energy (solar, wind and hydro) and in Oregon we have limited effectiveness with solar. A south-facing hillside should assist with that.
    13 Stream or creek with at least 50' vertical head
    Similar to the south-facing hillside, a stream with a good vertical head will allow us to pull good winter and spring hydro.
    14 Year-round stream or creek
    This could provide a good water source during a possible low water table in the summer. In addition, the year-round hydro would be fancy.
    15 At least 1 hilltop (even small, to be used for wind power)
    This is yet another attempt to keep our energy options open and diversify our power production.
    16 Pond
    A water source if we are desperate, but likely for fish
    17 Backs up to BLM
    My assumption is that it would be better to have the big backyard rather than certainty that someone is living just over the property line.
     
  2. Yeti

    Yeti Well-Known Member

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    Try looking around Kallamath falls. my buddy lives there and said land is reasonable at around $80,000-$100,000 for per 100 acres.
     

  3. crafty2002

    crafty2002 Well-Known Member

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    I know how you feel. I am so fed up with it I can't see straight but just when we were about to make a move the man I was working for is allowing me to use the 20 or so acres our lot backs up on as we see fit so I guess we will stay put for a while.
    Your list looks good but I would add standing timber to it.
    The hydro is a very good idea as well as the windmill if there is a steady enough wind.
    Of course you will need a home, but there are many other building you will need also.
    With a $5,000 to $25,000 sawmill you can cut all the materials you need, (Wood that is) in a short period of time. Two people can cut five hundred to a thousand dollars worth a day instead of buying it.
    With the right set up, you can even cut cedar shakes for the roofs.
    With a plainer/molder you can even cut your trim.
    Just an idea.
     
  4. e.alleg

    e.alleg Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like your dream property is perfect thoretically. Good luck with your search! When we were shopping we looked here and there and we went with the place we fell in love with right away. It has it's share of problems but no regrets so far.
     
  5. MyHomesteadName

    MyHomesteadName Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you're people after my own heart and looking for what I'm looking for. I think I'm going to end up in SW Virginia though. Good luck to you. When you find a place, post pictures of your progress. :)

    I'll be doing something very similar to what you describe. I'll post pictures as well.

    God Bless.
     
  6. Pink_Carnation

    Pink_Carnation Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that on many owner contracts ...if there is any kind of default you will loose all of it. You can't sell off part of it if until you have clear title.
     
  7. e.alleg

    e.alleg Well-Known Member

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    it's far better to get a mortgage. I've seen people pay $10k down and pay for 5 years on land contract and then miss 2 payments and that's it, all is lost with nothing to show for it.
     
  8. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    If you miss 2 payments on any "land contract" or mortgage via bank or private owner, you could be in danger of the lender foreclosing on you. The foreclosure guidelines vary from state to state, but the process can take as little as 6 months to complete. If you do a "by owner" mortgage, you usually have a title company or bank escrow dept. handle the paperwork and receipt of payments so that everything's legal. Just because the former owner carries a note doesn't mean the new owner is in any more danger than if the lender was a bank, instead. Just do it right.
     
  9. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Find an area that you like and start looking at farms. Each place will be different and you'll find one you like. It's fun to plan,though. :)

    Jennifer
     
  10. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It looks like you just described my dream property. Wether or not we'll ever find it is another matter. Are you wanting to stay in Oregon?
     
  11. Tessynae

    Tessynae Well-Known Member

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    I am Unlikely Farmers DW. Yes we want to stay in Oregon because we have family here. Even though we aren't huge fans of Oregon's tax laws and such, we do want to stay around family.
     
  12. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Same here. We both have all of our family here around Eugene. I am not a fan of Lane County in any way shape or form and would love to move out of this particular county.

    For now we will stay put (we have 16 acres about a half hour from Eugene). If we ever do move though I love your list. If we did move we would move with my sister and family (we share the 16 acres with them) and one other close family friend and her family.

    Anyways, Oregon sometimes isn't the easiest place to find everything on your list, I know, I've looked. Some places are better then others. Where are you and how far away is the farthest you want to move? I've done some research on different areas. Particularly Wallowa Oregon and just over the state border into Washington into Goldendale.

     
  13. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I agree that "if the zonings not right nothing else really matters"

    However each different metropolitan area has completely different definitions of zones.

    What on earth is "FF" and "EFU"?

    Out here in this "unorganized township" we do not have any zoning. The state forestry department handles building permits, and their primary concerns are whether it can be seen from the river or from the road. So long as whatever you do or build is back away from both the road and the river, growing corn, or a shoe factory, or ethanol still, or a farmhouse, it makes no never mind.

    'Zoning' is pretty much an urban thing.

    :)



    A lot of times with bare land, that is your only choice.



    WOW!

    I paid $35k and got 42 acres of forest with river frontage.

    We got 345 acres nearby going for $300/acre, but it is all forested.



    Woodlot is a good term, as is wild life forage.



    You do.



    No body is forcing you to do anything.

    Take some organic farming courses.



    That can be done for a lot less acreage.

    The problem that requires more acreage is if you get into fuel production. Then you will find that you need a lot of bio-mass.



    Can do.



    Only in urban or sub-urban areas is this an issue.



    My building permit allowed me to list as many structures as I needed and it said to include more pages if I needed, just to list them. One permit is good for five years, and cost me $75. I could have listed 100 buildings if I had wanted.

    Zoning is a city folk topic.



    I disagree.

    Just because someone cleared the rocks ten years ago, does not mean that there are no rock in the field today. Fresh rocks come up every year.

    If it was farmed before 1920, they had no tractors, so their teams drug the plows around the big rocks. After that time with tractors, they began moving the big rocks out of the fields.

    If land was farmed after 1910, then it has had pesticides on it, and petroleum based fertilizers on it.

    Both sets of my grandparents farmed from 1905 until the dust bowl, after they had totally poisoned their lands.

    Both sets of them then moved to California, where they did it again. in the late 1980's farming was outlawed South of Fresno California due to the build-up of those chemicals.

    Missouri is still barely functioning due to the land having been stripped of fertility back then. Oklahoma, Arkansas, areas that were once fertile, 60 years later are just barely getting back into shape and folks are again dumping junk onto that soil.

    I think that you may well do better to start out on virgin soil.



    Sure doesn't everyone?



    Yes.


    yes.


    Some areas are still just not good for it.

    There are maps where they show feasibility.



    I see good and bad on this.

    Good luck.

    And may G-d Bless you.
     
  14. SkizzlePig

    SkizzlePig Well-Known Member

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    ET1 SS-
    That's exactly the kind of feedback and critique I was hoping for.

    In Oregon here, you can run into zoning issues even out in the sticks. FF is Farm/Forest while EFU is Exclusive Farm Use. We have to stay away from TR (Timber) and REC (Recreation Only). My word! Why all the different zones?!? Anyway ...

    You bring up a very good point that I hadn't considered with a Former Headstead ... and I may be changing my list based on that.

    As for good soil, I just don't want it to be good by dumping chemicals into it every year. I don't know a lot about soil yet, but will become an expert I suppose.

    Thanks again ... and thank you for the blessing. He has and I'm counting on Him continuing.

    Anyone else with feedback? Lemme have it! [:)]
     
  15. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Soil can be very forgiving.

    'weeds' do try to make up for our stupidity. Some new books are out on that subject. {Please do not ask for titles as I have not read them yet myself either, but at a workshop recently I was told about them. They are on order.}

    Just so long as petrochems are not dumped on the land, the land will be okay.

    :)
     
  16. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    #2. Should be nice accommodating neighbors. This is very important, even with large plots. Read all the nasty neighbor threads.
    And I am with the guy who said Virgin soil might be better. Depends on what you find. You never know what some crazy people before you have done. My neighbor is still finding the ends of big pieces of asphalt in his yard. Original owner used it as fill. Tons of it.
     
  17. TechGuy

    TechGuy Well-Known Member

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    If you can swing it, avoid any debt. Opt for smaller land plot, adjacent to other vacant lots so you have the option to expand later. It would really suck to lose your place to the bank or under an owner contract because your unable to find employment during a recession or an injury. FWIW: $400K can buy an awful lot to trips to visit family, even if they are half way across the country and it takes an awful lot of money to payback a $400K loan.


    >4 Roughly 60 to 180 acres
    We plan to only use about 40 to 60 acres for crop, settlement and pasture … the rest is just a big backyard.

    I am not a farmer, but I think you have a tough time making a living farming your land. Lots of farmers have trouble and they have lots of experienced doing it. Currently I am in simlar situation and I am planning to relocate from the suburbs. Rather than trying to make a go on farming from the beginning, if you have a professional skill you could apply as a contract worker and rent or sub-rent a small apartment where you can find work with a good salary. If you can get good contract rates you could contract for six months a year and live the remaining six months on your farm. I think this would be more practical for you and there is less chance that you end up in financial trouble then making a go as a newly minted organic farmer. If I recall its not easy to get a organic certification either. Plus if later you decide living in the sticks isn't for you or your spouse, your resume will not show any gaps that can be frowned upon because of all the contract work history and your skills will remain up to date.

    I think you have a very hard time finding a piece of property with all these features.
    Also be aware that some rural areas are full of dangerous critters that you, or your spouse may have trouble dealing with. An aquantance of mine has a farm in northern rural California which he has frequent visits by black bears and wild pigs. Both of these animals can be agressive and dangerous to people, pets and livestock. Wild pigs can also do a number on planted crops.

    Also be aware, that the majority of folks that abandon the suburbs for the "green acres" life style end up going back or split up, or both. Expect your income to take a severe nose dive and conviences to the shopping mall or grocery store to nearly disappear. Expect frequent power outages and possibly being snowed in for days or weeks (depending on where you decide to move to). Overall I believe that going rural is a great option, but make sure your aware of the radical lifestyle changes you will be making.

    Finally don't forget about property taxes. It would be a good idea to get an estimated tax assement before signing anything. I believe a of towns have been slapping much higher taxes on new comers. Remember to get an assement that includes the taxes on your home, barn, etc, not just the land itself to avoid sticker shock.
     
  18. botebum

    botebum Up the Creek

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    60 to 180 acres ain't no hobby, lease it, use it or ignore it. If you ignore it, it may be a hobby now, but it won't be a hobby later.
    Good luck with your plans otherwise.

    Doug
     
  19. SkizzlePig

    SkizzlePig Well-Known Member

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    All good advice ... thank you for your counsel and cautions.

    Techguy-
    You're spot on. We don't actually anticipate making any money from the farm. We wouldn't desire being certified as organic, we just want to use those disciplines. Money is a very serious concern. To that, I'm in a unique position. I'm a freelance work-at-home software engineer. To a large degree, I can work where ever there's an internet connection and I have cell service.

    Thanks again ... I'm tweaking the plan, but I'm not talked out of it. ;) Keep it coming!
     
  20. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I see very few problems with your plan.

    Perhaps you are planning on spending way too much money.

    Many of your concerns are due to viewing it with an urban POV.

    I would recommend that you look at 20 year old motorhomes.

    Self-contained potable water systems, septic systems, generator, plus 12VDC battery systems.

    So you get to play with all of these concepts. Living with them; getting water, storing it, separating black water from grey water and disposing of each in different ways. A propane tank with a propane stove for cooking and propane heated central-air furnace. Everything can be done with 12VDC or 110VAC, and either way it takes equipment just a little different. And you can use satellite up-links, and still be just as tapped-in as if you were in an office.

    We used a motorhome, and when I had found our property, I parked the MH on the property to use as a home for the first year.

    When you do find land, you will need a home during the transition period, while you are clearing and building. A place to do laundry, and to shower, to sit and enjoy a cold beer, and to do your work away from the mosquitoes.

    Many of the folks here on HT on doing it, are in the process of the transition.

    good luck

    :)