HELP- Have you ever bought property signt unseen??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by wesimkins, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. wesimkins

    wesimkins Active Member

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    I know this is probably a stupid question ok not probably I know it is, BUT we found a piece of property just west of redding california. Beautiful. 40 acres 1000 per acre. No electric, well or septic but thats ok we probably wont build for 5 years or so. Its not going to be listed until the weekend. We cant make it up there for at least 3 weeks. The elementary school is 15 minutes away and had amazingly good test scores. He's willing to carry w/ 10 percent down. I know I'm jumping the gun but I want it (lol)! What questions do I ask? Should we wait until next month and look around. Your posts have all encouraged us to get out of southern california, and it doesnt look like we could go wrong with this. HELP :)
     
  2. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER by property sight unseen. End of discussion.
     

  3. Windy_jem

    Windy_jem Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nope, don't do it!
     
  4. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    how do you know it's beautiful if you've never seen it??
     
  5. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    no. way. :nono: :nono: :nono:

    i came back to explain at least some of the reason everyone is saying no.

    who is willing to take 10% down? is this a fsbo? is he going to hold the mortgage? why isn't it listed with the real estate? why is he in such a hurry? hardly anywhere in the country (with a few exceptions) is land for sale at 1000/ acre. especially not in n. california.

    there is something seriously wrong with this land, and maybe with the guy who is pressuring you to buy.

    take a good, long, hard look at it, in person. ask the neighbors any questions you may have about the history of the place. do you like the kind of people who will be your neighbors? is there a hog farm next door? chicken house? is there a level building site? is there a toxic waste dump in the back yard?

    there are probably hundreds of quesytions like this you need to ask, in person, before giving away lots of your hard earned dollars.
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It is an 8 to 12 hour drive, yes? Do you have the weekend off?

    Start driving from work, take a short break for dinner, and stop when you are tired. Show up by Saturday noon at the latest, and see the property. Crash, and drive back starting early Sunday.

    I have found the realtors descriptions to be accurate, EXCEPTING for what they leave out! I remember the LAST time we looked at property we looked at 3 parcels.

    One one parcel, the 2 "ponds" were drainage ditches that collected water from the highway, and it literally STANK! A second was used by the entire small town for soft ball games, wouldn't THAT have made us popular! Assuming, of course, I could have kept them off of the veggies! The THIRD parcel was the rolling hills, and the one drawback did not affect us, so we bought that.

    Tell me, would you still want the 40 acres if it was downhill from a landfill? Realtors do not usually volenteer information.

    If you get 2 days off in a row, you can probably look at the property. And, a word to the wise: there are probably comparable properties in the area. Realtors charge what they think the market will bear. Either their are other properties comparably priced, or there is something wrong with the property that lowers the price.

    Mind, you might not CARE about whatever the problem is! With the land we bought, the price was lowered because there would be no city water for 3 years, when we could not afford to build immediately ANYWAYS! But, if the price is low for the area there WILL be a defect, even if it is not one that you care about.

    Find a way to see the property if it is humanly possible.

    Redding is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful areas in California. It is very hot in the summer, and cold in the winter, but it is where I would live if I were still in California.
     
  7. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    In the past there was a lot of "junk" land for sale cheap in Tehama County. I don't remember much of the detail, but it was worth less than the asking price and wasn’t anything I would have at any price. I DID go look (the only way to fly).

    When land is offered, going in, as "Owner finance with low down", red flags go up. Owners are sometimes willing to finance BUT on a clean deal they prefer cash. If someone leads with "owner finance" the land is typically overpriced or undesirable or both.

    Pictures and verbal descriptions can be MOST misleading, often deliberately.

    Once in a while a person might luck into something – and once in a while a person might win the lottery. I'd keep money in pocket until making an on-site inspection -- and then I would get competent, local legal advice.
     
  8. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I wouldn't.I know lots of people buy property around here like that.They get here and its nothing like what they thought it would be.

    There is 5 acres next to me,the Guy is advertising it to have large timber and spring.He bought the place and has never seen it,all he has is a couple pictures that the Guy he bought it off of sent him.

    Well the trees that are on it are fire scared and in bad shape,mostly brush.The spring is a wet weather one,that the neighbor is running her sewage in to.Plus its on the North side of a hill and very hard to get into.

    big rockpile
     
  9. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A definate NO!. Wait until you can go see it and do your research. How far will you have to bring power? Water? About how deep? Access, summer and winter? Building codes? Is the land flat enough to use for what you want? Will you have to clear it? Taxes? Jobs?. Decide how much work you are willing to take on and which things are important to you. Decide what you want to do with the land and choose accordingly. Don't get impatient and make costly mistakes. It'll work out great if you keep focused on what you want. Good luck.
     
  10. wesimkins

    wesimkins Active Member

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    Thanks we are going to try to make it up there in 2 wks. My husband is on call the next two weekends, so we will go up after. I did check the mls and it seems to be right in what the others are going for anywhere between 30 and 75 thousand for 40 acres or so. There are some CC&R's I havent seen them yet. We are just surprised to see property in those prices that have decent schools and are somewhat close to town (25 miles or so). My dh has no work pride really, he would leave his corporate job to work at costco or home depot and happily do so :) I will keep you updated once we get up there to see it. thanks again for bursting my happy bubble (in a good way:) Needed to have some sense knocked into me!
     
  11. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    well (going against the grain as usual) We bought ours with only seeing pictures.
    of course we are about 1400 miles away.. We did get there last summer and its what we though it was.

    One word of advice though.. Check out codes and zoning.. Thats the thing I wish I'd have done.. Septic is the only one I know about now but that could be costly if it has to be a mound..
     
  12. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    As a former realtor, there is a way you can do this safely IF you LOAD YOUR OFFER with LOTS and LOTS of contingencies.
    Let's start with geological contingencies: 1. contingent that land is deemed buildable and not on active earthquake fault line per country building department.
    2. property does not have building restrictions for endangered species of animal, bird or plant
    3. property is not in a designated flood zone, even 100 yr and does not have a history of flooding or mud slides.
    4. property does not contain slopes in excess of ___% grade and has more than __#_ level building sites on property (check, counties usually have a max % grade for building - and you want to stay well below that.)
    Ooops, forgot one 4-1/2: Property does not contain Native American burial sites or other culturally sensitive archeology.
    4-3/4 - property passes soil compaction tests (watch out - forest land usually fails!)

    Next, offer contingent on 5. land has multiple access points and restrictions AND access has not been given to any other parcels across this one
    6. property does not have access granted for timber cutting or mining or utilities**
    7. seller warrants that property has NEVER been used for illegal dumping of ANY materials
    8. property passes perculation tests, and seller will provide tests for buyer's inspection before all contingencies removed
    9. All water tests exceed California clean water standards and seller will provide copy of test performed within the past 12 months (if there is no well, then call a local well driller or two and talk about how deep and how annual water tests has been fairing in the area)
    10. county will permit well drilling on property
    11. county permitting building anywhere buyer would like on the property. 12. Property does not contain high voltage electrical towers/transformers nor natural/petroleum gas piping
    13. Property is not in a designated green belt area or subject to a county zoning change (take a look at what the county has planned for the area - there are always 2 maps at the county, 1 for current and 1 for what is PLANNED in the future. Look at both!!!!)

    And #14, my personal favorite, "offer is contingent on architect's approval." This is the great catch-all contingency: ANYTHING you don't like, for ANY reason, oh, so sorry, too bad, my regrets, the architect didn't approve the property. All monies returned out of escrow. Make this THE LAST contingency you remove in escrow, the day escrow closes.

    Now, there are more and you may have a few of your own to add, however, do include all these when you write an offer. They are there for your benefit LEGALLY. California has pretty tight laws on misrepresenting real estate.

    ** Almost all properties have mineral rights sold off. What you want to see is exactly what those rights entitle the holders to. All this is recorded on the deed and on file with the county.

    Any one of those contingencies can trip up an escrow and refund all your money. Again, ANY TIME you buy land, include my favorite, #14 -- I've used it more than once and was very glad it was there. (And it looks so innocent in the offer.)

    Oh and if your spouse can't be present when the offer is written, then of course, "offer contingent on approval of spouse."

    And that's the way you tie up property unseen and still walk away smiling if the "deal was hinky", as we used to say in the business. And remember EVERYTHING is writing. Talk is worse than cheap, it's worthless.

    Now, I know there are those of you reading this and thinking we're nuts. Well, that may be however California actually has rules/laws/ordinances/building restrictions for every one of these points and no one will blink an eye on these contingencies. (Yep, it's scary! It's California! :hobbyhors )

    BW
    former southern Californian
     
  13. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Dear wesimpkins:
    I have swamp land in Florida for you...and a bridge in Brooklyn!
     
  14. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    If its that Alps preserve,or whatever that is,steer clear.Ive read their homeowner association notes,they are control freaks who like to spend your money.One person is on 2 other boards and was spouting off on sueing people late on their fees.
    I can see why people are bailing on that very pretty properties,those folks are NUTS in charge.

    BooBoo
     
  15. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    And I've two bridges with trolls in Manhattan, a much higher rent district than Brooklyn, plus the Okeefenokee Swamp. I'll let it all go for $39,000, just 10% down!!

    Just joking. If you think it is that good of a deal, spring for a plane ticket and check it out, but don't buy it sight unseen.
     
  16. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Wow Becky,you sure know how to cover it all,great post!

    BooBoo
     
  17. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Dear wesimpkins:

    If you will buy from me instead of Ramblin', I'll throw in the London bridge at no extra charge.
     
  18. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    To do the subject justice, much of the land offered will have no drawbacks.
    it will be perfectly good land.

    Then again, it often is not. I would not want to gamble my life savings on the risk that the land was under water 2 months of the year. About HALF of the properties that I have looked at had some major problems, and $40,000 is too much to gamble with. ESPECIALLY if the odds are only 50-50!
     
  19. logbuilder

    logbuilder Well-Known Member

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    When I bought my land, I made the sale contingent on a 'feasibility study'. I had 30 days to conduct the study. For me, it involved talking to the county and making sure they knew of nothing that would prevent me from getting a building permit. If I had found anything that would have prevented me from using the land, I could cancel the contract and get my earnest money back. Below is some sample language. Something like that would protect you if there was anything wrong with the land. What it would not protect is if you see the land and just don't like it.

    In my opinion, the place you call a homestead needs to 'speak' to you. When I first got wind of the place I now have becoming available, I had never seen it. When I went to see it, the land just screamed in my head..... 'This is where you are meant to be'. Have you heard anything yet? If not, better get up there.

    Robert

    6. RIGHT OF INSPECTION. Buyer shall have ___ days from the effective date of this Agreement at Buyer's sole cost to effect a feasibility study on the subject property for Buyer's intended use. Buyer and Buyer's Engineers, employees and representatives have the right to enter upon the Property for the purpose of making the necessary investigations, including but not limited to, surveying, soils tests, location of utilities, storm drainage and any other tests Buyer deems necessary. If Buyer shall enter the subject property during the term of this Agreement for any reason whatsoever, Buyer hereby agrees to indemnify and hold Seller harmless from and against any and all claims, liabilities, causes of action and damages which Seller may have filed against it or may suffer or incur, arising out of or attributable to the entry upon the subject property and the acts thereon of Buyer, its agents, employees and representatives. Such indemnification shall extend to the costs of litigation incurred by Seller, if any, and to the reasonable attorney's fees which may be expended by Seller in connection therewith.
     
  20. logbuilder

    logbuilder Well-Known Member

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    From the way I look at it, the thing at risk is not the price of the land. It is the amount of earnest money put down. You could sign a contract sight unseen, give them $1000 earnest money. If you them later saw and decided you didn't want it, back out of the contract and forfeit the earnest money.