Good internet sources to search for land and farm properties?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by hisenthlay, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    I go on realtor.com all the time, and check the FSBO adds in my local Craigslist, but they rarely have any 10+ acre properties on offer. I have a feeling there must be better sources. I've checked out a couple of the rural property search engines before (can't remember the name now) but never found anything near me. We're hoping to stay in southwestern PA, so if anyone knows anything about that specifically, that would be especially great.

    And before you guys suggest a good farm realtor, or word of mouth, or whatever, I should mention that I'm just trying to get a feel for the market now, and won't be able to buy until April at least, if at all, because there's a small (but real) possibility that my fiance's job might force us to move away from here. So I just want to get a general idea of what's really out there, and price ranges, without wasting other people's time on something that may not happen.

    Thanks!
     
  2. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

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    I like to window shop property on

    Unitedcountry.com then you can pick a state and what type, etc.

    Lots of fun

    And I think there's one called land and farm or farm and land...

    But if you get on unitedcountry you can find lots of real estate links to go from.

    Angie
     

  3. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    For PA real estate, try Howard Hanna Real estate. Don't remember their website but if you google it you should find it. They cover all over PA mostly and have links to the MLS's in your area. Also, try doing a google search for something like "southwestern PA MLS" or something like that. That is how I found all the local MLS's for my state and the MLS for each area is definitely what you want to view, as it has the absolute up-to-date listings (to the minute actually!) for the specific area you are looking at. I have found that realtor.com lags behind in this regard by almost 3 days or more. By going on the direct MLS for your region, you will know immedialtely when a new property comes on, as it is posted there right away. Good luck!
     
  4. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I just looked it up and it is just www.howardhanna.com. That should be what you are looking for.
     
  5. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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  6. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Thanks, guys, very helpful! I checked United Country (nothing in my area at the moment) and spent a good while poking around on HowardHanna. They seem to have a lot more stuff, and more detail, than realtor.com. I'll have to try the other sites tomorrow. Thanks!!

    Now, I just wish that some of these sites would get smart and put in a feature that lets you search everything within X miles of a certain city or zip code--don't they know that many people are trying to find places based on commuting distances to work?!? :p It would sure save time. I admit that I do like flipping through all the different properties, on some level, but.... :p
     
  7. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    I think the HH website allows you to at least search by county I think, too.
     
  8. Mallow

    Mallow Well-Known Member

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    Well if you are interested in going a little farther southwest you can check here in WV.

    http://www.wvagriculture.org/market_bulletin/farm.html

    Lists anything over 10 acres that is classified as a "farm" Living in WV will get you away from some of the horrible PA taxes as well.
     
  9. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I tried for years to find what we wanted.

    What I bought was never listed on MLS.

    Most properties around me that are for sale are not on MLS.

    So I do not see how you would ever find them on the WWW.
     
  10. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you picked some areas and checked the local papers online? I'm selling mine myself and listed in the local greensheet instead of the big city paper. It was cheaper and they put it online for you too. I was going to post in thriftynickel but never got around to it.
     
  11. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Good idea, QP--I'll check the local papers online, too.

    Mallow, I certainly wouldn't mind WV, except for the commute--we've considered moving there someday, but for now at least we have to stay closer to Pittsburgh. Thanks for the link, though--it's good perspective to see what money will buy right over the border.

    ET1, how did you ultimately find your place? Like I said, I'm not really in a position to go digging around now, but it would be good for future reference.

    Thanks!
     
  12. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I came to this area, and dealt with the realtors for two summers, looking at everything they had listed, I found it to be exhaustive. In all of the driving around though, I kept seeing 'for sale' signs with phone numbers. So I finally called one. A nice couple who own a ski lodge, the husband is a forester, they collect large parcels of land from the logging companies, that never are listed publicly as land for sale. So this couple had a four page print-out list of properties that they own, with a sale price for each property. They buy, and they manage the forests in the hope of one day re-timbering, but in the mean time if someone offers their price, then it is sold.

    It took me most of a week just to locate and walk the property lines of their waterfront properties. What we ended up buying is 42 acres on a river, with another piece that is 105 acres across the road, and a third behind that of 360+/- acres.

    In this area, I have found that there are foresters who buy land from the logging companies and accumulate lands, for 'speculation'. They buy the land for $100/acre. or perhaps in a poker game, I don't know, how many of their stories I can trust. We are just happy that we found cheap forest land on a river, and priced far below anything that Realtors will list.
     
  13. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    ET1, neat! I guess just driving around the areas and making calls could be a good way to go, eventually.

    We almost got a property here that way in July, but it got snatched out from under us at the last minute by the devious neighbor. We weren't even looking to buy, just driving around, and saw an auction sign for 15 beautiful acres and a couple run down buildings that were up for auction the next week. Now, like I said, there's a possibility that we may have to move, so originally we weren't even going to go to the auction, but we both loved it so much that we researched the property and went to the auction "just to see". Well, the auctioneers were crooked and did a bad job to boot, and the place didn't sell at auction. The owner just called the whole thing off in the middle. We stayed in contact with him and eventually wrote up an offer. We would've made a higher offer sooner if we were sure we were going to be able to stay in the area, but as it was we were uncomfortable with the "gamble" and were only willing to pay what we thought we could quickly and easily turn around and sell it for if necessary. It was a great price, perfect location, perfect land, and we would've gotten it if the next door neighbor, who didn't have enough to buy the place outright, hadn't frightened and guilt-tripped the old guy into staying and basically signing over the property to the neighbor under the table with only a life estate left for himself, and almost no cash in hand. A bad outcome for the owner, a good outcome for the neighbor, and maybe a good outcome for us, because I wouldn't want to live next door to a snake like that who would take advantage of a vulnerable elderly guy with no family to protect him.

    Anyway, that property wasn't listed on MLS or anything, and I was wondering if there's any other way to find situations like that without making a lot of phone calls and putting people to trouble for no reason. Sounds like the local papers might be a good option, or just driving around, I guess.
     
  14. Mallow

    Mallow Well-Known Member

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    I used to commute from Morgantown to just outside the Liberty tubes. It actually isn't to horrible after you get accustomed to it. I have since changed jobs though and commute about 45 minutes still. Once I have a house on my 10 acres in the Bruceton Mills area it will be closer to 30 minutes commute.
     
  15. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    hisenthlay-

    In forestry areas, a lot of land gets passed around between mills, foresters, loggers, and around. When someone with a 'developer' mindset comes in, then suddenly everyone gets upset.

    Here in Maine it makes big news, and the state has to put it on the ballet before guys can take large chunks to cut up into house lots. We have one now that is on the radio everyday, with folks debating 'yes' or 'no'.

    But if all you want is 40 to 500 acres for a homestead, those transactions are commonly done in a restaurant with one piece of paper.

    We had never done a 'quit deed' before and wanted a lawyer in the transaction, the seller consented but they did not to pay points. A local lawyer's office who specializes in land transactions, charges a flat fee of $200 for any land transfer.
     
  16. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Mallow--45 minutes doesn't sound too bad--not great, but definitely doable for sure. My problem is that I would have to go through the tunnels, and to hear some people talk, that alone can take 45 minutes. So, we've mostly been looking north and west of the city. It's pricey, though, and it's getting more and more developed up that way, if you want to stay in the 45 minute commute range--all of the 10+ acre properties are either selling for about $1million or are getting split up. Bah. Very irritating.

    Rose, thanks for the link--it has some neat properties, especially since I'm window shopping for "someday".

    ET1--yeah, I wouldn't feel too comfortable with the resaurant back of a napkin transaction either. To the big companies, that might be "just 40 acres" but we plan on building our lives there, and it would be a BIG deal if something were to go wrong with the title down the road.