How to Buy That Land

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Peacock, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    I thought 1.24 acres was an improvement enough over the subdivision life...but I've been hanging around you all too much. :) DH and I have dreamed of getting some land in a rural area as an investment for some time, just to own and "sit on", also to use for private recreation (peaceful camping, fishing, maybe some ATV trails, nothing crazy), and economic (huge garden, free firewood).

    It'd have to be within 2-3 hours' drive of our primary residence if we planned to visit once a month or so. I don't want to set up a deal where we HAVE to go there every weekend to maintain something. Obviously if I've got a food crop growing it'd need some care, but something like a corn field doesn't need much. I'm not going to put animals there and leave them alone for weeks on end. I just want to HAVE the land. I don't need a building on it or any improvements -- when we visit we'll have a camper. Though over the years we'll build things like a barn, root cellar, outhouse, and maybe eventually a small cabin.

    I'm not sure I plan to live on this land someday. If we did it'd be after the kids are grown, but DH and I have plans to see the country with an RV. This would just be a "back up plan", sort of a bug-out location, and above all an investment. After all, there's a reason it's called REAL estate - it isn't going anywhere.

    So...I started looking at land in KY, sort of my "ancestral" home. Places described not by addresses, but by names like "Left Fork of South Fork", 48 acres for $5,600. I can afford that! Or can I? Is there a catch? Like there's hazardous medical waste buried there, or it's really 10' wide and 100,000 feet long? (you know what I mean...I'm not doing the math tonight).

    IS there any land in a reasonably habitable place (that is not, say, in northern Canada near the Arctic Circle!) for cheap? Are offers like the one I mentioned a kind of trick, selling the worst land - hilly, rocky, flood-prone? Are there hidden pitfalls, like getting clear title, EPA hazards, scary shotgun-toting neighbors?

    I like KY...from what I've seen. It's very pretty, and I like hills to an extent, though I don't think I'd like to purchase a sheer 100ft. cliff face. :)

    What to look for?

    Am I nuts?

    Thanks!
     
  2. hillsidedigger

    hillsidedigger Well-Known Member

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    Here in WNC, a decent 48 acre tract might have only cost about $75,000 as recently as 1990 but now would likely be at least $250,000.
     

  3. Selena

    Selena proud to be pro-choice

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    It is getting tougher as people with money to invest are buying up land at a fast pace. Farmers in my area who sell to developers buy farmland in IA to alleviate the tax situation. Minimum per acre (corn or bean field) is $25K, prices are closer to $50K in some places. And I'm 75 miles from Chicago. If you want 5 - 10 acres, plan on paying $30K per acre if not more, smaller tracts are more expensive here. This past April we bought another house on 5 mostly wooded acres as it will be 'built to the hilt' around us soon - the fields to the west and north of us were sold and we expect 230 houses will replace 160 acres of farmland. The house we bought is well built (around 40 years old) but needed updating and work. But the price and location were too good to pass up. We'd been looking for at least 9 months, I'd find potentials, spouse/kids would weed out on location, then spouse would go investigate. Only 2 warranted me to go look at them (one was just raw land) and the house we bought was the only house we went inside. Other houses were dumps but as they sat on the 5 - 10 acre tracts, the seller could get away with his/her asking price. Guess I'm saying do your homework and be thorough - zoning, planned use of the land, roads that have been on the books for YEARS that could all of a sudden be built, prior use of land etc. Better to miss out on a piece of land than to buy but be stuck.
     
  4. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Buying land is like buying anything else:

    1. Supply and Demand - If you go to a more remote area with a low population, there are fewer potential buyers and the prices are generally lower as long as you're not looking at production-grade farmland.

    2. There's a reason why there are fewer people there and the prices are lower...the land is probably not rich, flat bottomland with easy access and lots of nice homesites.

    3. "You get what you pay for" applies to land, just as it does to anything else. Now if you buy $100 cars to drive...that's fine with me...there are some out there for sale...However, finding a good, reliable, nice $100 car that you can enjoy and be proud of? That would be a rare find indeed...I ain't saying there's not one out there SOMEWHERE...just that you might spend your whole life looking for it...

    4. "Caveat Emptor" - "Let the Buyer Beware"
     
  5. roadless

    roadless Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We just bought our dream property using unitedcountry.com maybe they can help.
     
  6. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    I would first figure out EXACTLY what you want the land for. What you need and where you'd compromise. I think there is a lot of land out there that "has something wrong with it" that may suit YOUR needs.I'd say the first issue would be water. If it wasn't readily available, that's gonna lower the price. If you only need it for drinking and hygiene, you can haul it in, or collect rain.
    Second would be access. No good if you can't get there(or out).The lay of the land may not be that important a long as you had a level spot for your RV. I would forget about crops if you werent there to maintain them. Plus that kinda land is gonna cost you. I'd think more along the lines of fruit and nut trees, berrys and maybe hardwoods to harvest down the road.
    In other words, if you're not looking for something that would be considered a permanent homesite or farmland, rather a "retreat" or a place to bug-out to, you should be able to find something. I bet there are a lot of places that the owners have been trying to unload, cuz they are not the perfect spot to put a McMansion on.
    FWIW, about 7 acres of my land is wooded and hilly. Most people would consider it worthless. But I've put in a walking trail, with little "reststops" and I'm in the process of planting Daffodils, etc. so I have my own little paradise that to me is priceless.
     
  7. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    That is a very good price range.

    Assuming that you have water and power available.

    Around here for land to get that cheap it does not have either, or perhaps too much water.

    I would not go through a realtor, not for any amount of money.
     
  8. RLStewart

    RLStewart Well-Known Member

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    I live in NW PA and if you look hard you can still find some decent deals on land. The biggest shortcomings you run into here are having to put in 20K septic systems because the ground is all clay and putting up with the very snowy winters! Those things might not be a problem if you weren't living here full time. You can find alot of nice land for 3K an acre and less. Up until a few years ago you could find alot for 1K and acre!
     
  9. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    There is cheap land in many places..... just not near enough to big cities for the yuppies to commute to (they & the developers drive the price way up).

    Mind you, $116.67 per acre is a steal.... but it's that price because it's WAY out in the boonies, has no piped water (you'll almost certainly need to drill a new well), and is probably hilly (hard to put house & septic on) as well as more than a bit rocky (shallow soil, O.K. for timber & sparse grazing, but can't farm it & have to put lots of work into garden plots on).... but look at it anyway, you might luck out into it being a holler bottom with some good soil & level homesites, & no matter what it's probably got a great view. Look out for poor (rough, turns to mud when it rains, etc) road access.

    Look specifically for what you want and need. If you can get land cheap, you WILL profit by the investment. "Peaceful camping" is easy. Fishing means just be sure to get a creek or a good pond (you might have to start out stocking it). Be cautious re ATV use, unless you WANT major erosion damage. Free firewood is easy... but you can get that without buying land of your own. Huge garden only works if you're there to watch it.... even corn will get wiped out by rabbits, deer, raccoons, & birds..... and gardens often require a little extra watering (unless you spring for a barrier cloth & polyacrylamide system).

    From the sound of it, what you need is cheap wooded land with a small patch (acre or less) of good soil on it that you can eventually plant on. Plant some fruit & nut trees (with protection cages), stock the ponds if they exist, build a basic shelter, BURY some survival & camping gear (food staples, fishing gear, old blankets, matches, a cheap .22 or at least some wire for snares), ensure you've access to potable water (well, or rain collection off a shed, etc) and you'll have a place for recreation, retirement, AND emergency use.

    You can check out properties initially via free online topographic maps (will show slopes, surface water, vegetation, structures, often show lines indicating fencing) & free online satellite photographs.

    Then, once you are seriously thinking about a place, get a (free) copy of the County soil survey & see what the soil is like & what your land can be used for.

    You can do most of all this on the internet, once you get the legal description from the sellers.
     
  10. Bluecreekrog

    Bluecreekrog Well-Known Member

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    Plenty of affordable land out here in Adams Co.. Nice places 10 - 30 acres selling for 1000 or 2000 per acre. Many old tobacco farms.
     
  11. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Ooh, Adams Co. sounds perfect! Definitely a 2-hour drive. I'll have to look into it.

    And thanks Kenuche for the excellent info and encouragement! Your answer was exactly what I needed.
     
  12. enota

    enota Well-Known Member

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    This land does not exist in this dimension. This is a ploy to get you to "join" or "buy a membership". Chances are that somewhere in the literature/website there is a disclaimer that "This is not an actual listing but represents the type of property that is available". Yeah right. Right now, this moment, the cheapest land that you can find ANYWHERE in the lower 48 would probably be around $200 per acre and it won't have much water available and it probably won't have electricity or phone to it.

    From what I can gather the going rate for "decent" rural land in the midwest is somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000 per acre. This is probably what you can expect to pay in Kentucky.

    Grab your friend Mr. Google and plug in "Real estate agents in Anwhere, KY" and start checking out websites for what is available and how much. Realtor.com is another source for listings. EVERY board of realtors has a "search" site where you can see all available listings for their board.

    It is best to buy now because, while the housing market is due for a serious tumble, the price of land will only appreciate as time goes on. Buy what you can afford now.

    enota
     
  13. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Enota -- it's actually land I found by browsing on Realtor.com.

    The one I saw the other day might have been a typo, but here is an actual listing for 50 acres/$42K near Salyersville. Still a pretty good deal if it's decent land.

    http://realtor.com/Prop/1063211214

    Not that I am considering this particular one, mind you - I'd have to look a little more into it. It's just an example.
     
  14. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I thought I listed a larger place in KY for $600 or so an acre a while back.
    I would think you might be able to get away with a garden that is far away as long as you put up deer fencing I just found some good cheap plastic deer fencing 7feet high I guess you would need two, You may get lucky and the coons would leave you be, if nothing else I am sure they would not eat everything I bet the squash would make it for sure.
     
  15. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    I know for a fact of desert land or somewhat arid mountain land off in the SW available for as cheap as $50 per acre. No, most doesn't have el;ectricity (although out there, photovoltaic REALLY pays for itself fast) or phone (but nowadays there is something called a cell phone). Rarely much surface water, but often enough you can drill a well & get at least household needs taken care of. I've also seen wooded mountaintops offered for as cheap as $100 per acre in a state/county that gets ~50" of rainfall.

    Mind you, this ISN'T little 5 or 20 acre sized homesteadlets..... it's for land of at least several hundred acres..... sometimes for thousands or tens of thousands of acres (Heck, 7yrs back I passed up 640 acres of desert land.... only a few miles from a major freeway.... for $30,000 which is a bit LESS than $50/ac). I was tempted, but not quite enough (I buy land to keep, NOT to invest).

    I paid considerably LESS than $1000/acre for my farm..... it's 1/3 world class bottomland loam & 2/3 high quality upland soils. 40" of rainfall, maybe 60% of that in this current drought year. Pretty level, so little rock I have to save every scrap I find, for future construction projects. Plenty of timber, enough wild game to live off if TSHTF. Good neighbors, lots of isolation.

    2-3 years ago, I was paying close attention to land offerings and three times saw 100% BOTTOMLAND being offered for $600/acre. One piece was even covered with a mature pecan orchard AND had a house. Another had deep lakes (from limited coal mining, decades ago) that would have given unlimited irrigation potential.

    There is quite a bit of $200 acre land, plenty of rainfall, sometimes with creeks, just not neccessarily level. But it's rarely offered through realtors, it's word of mouth or local newspaper ads. All sale by owner.

    I agree in full on this last point. But look around CAREFULLY, first. Take a year or two to do it.
     
  16. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    The 85 acre place next to me just sold for $900/acre this week. Now this is very steep, just logged (basically stripped), tree laps everywhere, 20 years before any appreciable trees, no water, phone or electric.

    I gave $830/acre for my place in 1999. Electric, phone, deep well, dug well, barn, and year round large spring-fed creek the entire length of the property. Mix of excellent bottom ground and gently rolling pasture, lots of walnut trees and others.

    Two years ago I went to an auction about a mile from me along the same creek and that ground went for $5000 an acre. It was about 80 acres if I remember right.

    350 acres next to me just sold for $1 million dollars. (Same guy bought the first 85 acres I mentioned.

    Prices seem to be all over the place, but from what I've seen down in here is ground going for around $2000/acre for mediocre ground. Unless you are extremely lucky, you wont get any bargains thru a realtor or auction. I found mine thru word of mouth.
     
  17. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Ha! Yes you are nuts! We have not met anyone yet who bought their land and was content to just "sit on" it.
    First you go visit and find you literally have to drag yourself away from it.
    Then you spend all your time away from your land wishing you were on it, and
    planning what you want to do next time you visit your land.
    You talk about your land to anyone who will listen...
    Next thing you know you find yourself in the office with the boss and these words are coming out of your mouth...
    "Moving....Two weeks notice...no, no new job lined up yet...."

    Just thought I'd warn you. :p
     
  18. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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  19. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Lots of good advice above, but I'll just add that everytime I've not bought land when I thought it was a good deal, later on I've kicked myself for being timid. Everytime I've bought land as an investment or for a home, I've done alright with it. If it's good land, affordable, "maintainable", and the taxes aren't too bad, buy it.
     
  20. GoatLove

    GoatLove Well-Known Member

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    Here in Maryland (Baltimore County), we bought 3 acres for $105,000 3 years ago. Now it is worth twice that! We were lucky. Good luck to you :cool: