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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our "neighbors" (100 acres owned by investors) is going up for sale soon. The 3 investors bought it 20+ years ago at auction. It is divided in half by a township road. Half is hilly terrain with immature trees on it.

The other side of the road is hilly terrain with a fairly steep ravine. half is cleared farm land (25 acres) the other half is wooded with some barely mature Cherry ... nothing great ... a lot of scrub. This half is bordered by a electric sub-station and a powerline on the east. Another huge powerline runs through the property dividing about 8 of the acres. There is also a gas line (with right of way to the gas co) and another smaller powerline which bisects a few other acres in the west corner.

There are no utilities except electric and phone. Sewage and water would have to be brought about 400yds to reach the property.

I approched the owners about a year ago and they said they wanted to sell but 360,000 was out of the question at the time. Now, according to a neighbor, they will advertise and ask 400,000.
I personally don't know how attractive this will be to developers due to the reasons mentioned above.

Anyway, If I can swing this ... possibly having another neighbor purchase half or possibly buying it all myself ... I'd like some ideas on ways to profit from the land use (or at least help reduce my debt).

I considered Christmas trees, beef cattle and leasing to hunters.

Any thoughts would be great!
 

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Master Of My Domain
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i doubt leasing to hunters will net you very much. if i were leasing land to hunt, i wouldn't want to see another hunter within 300 yards minimum, and i would need quite a few acres to feel comfortable. i guess it depends on how you run it though. i doubt a deer farm is in the works, so no canned hunting and no big turnover of hunters. you may have luck leasing it out to an entire family who can share it and fight amongst themselves as to how to hunt it. i know a family with about 6 hunters who have leased parcels of land about 50 acres to hunt on.

christmas trees are a pain in the butt to manage and sell. they require irrigation to get started if it is dry and they require annual pruning to maintain shape. do you really want to trim trees every year for ten years?

i think your best option is to find someone who will farm the areas that can be farmed. another idea may be to grow hay. you could probably learn that trade. hay seems to be in demand in lots of places these days, and with more farmers growing corn, hay production may be down for a while.

meat goats would be another option i would consider.

about the idea that the land is not attractive to developers...they seem to find ways to market land no matter what. i have seen 30 foot drops by a roadside filled in and developed. it is hard to imagine it is worth the time and money to do so, but they did it and apparently made money.
 

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agmantoo
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At $4000 /acre and being as "rough" as you described I see no way to make it cash flow with conventional farming. With the terrain as described, unless the property is in the path of progress, the property itself would be slow to appreciate. Personally I find it easier to buy better land than to buy property with issues so that I have a broader group as potential buyers when I sell. Informed buyers do buy distressed properties but they are skilled at manipulating the price downward. Just remember that developers are the skilled experts and you are the babe in the woods. It has been quiet an education for me dealing with an array of developers. Some things I have learned is that they will bait and switch, you need to always have strong representation and you need to oversee the representation, you need to know why to include the term "time is of the essence" in the contract, never enter into another contract that you cannot reverse in anticipation to closing on the first property, you need to develop a poker face during negotiations, get everything in writing and written where it cannot be misinterpreted, never buy or sell without and offer to purchase and contract signed by all parties, you need to have a clause that you get all the engineering and survey copies if the deal fails, you need to understand how a 1031 exchange works, you need to understand that you need not sell unless what you are going to do with the proceeds improves your position, understand the attitude that exists while the transaction is in progress will shift once the ownership changes, the buyer is not your buddy, etc.
 

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Without knowing your area, and the potential growth, I think you are going to over pay for the acreage.

$4000 an acre seems pretty steep if you ask me. That is what you would pay around here for flat, well drained farm land that could be developed. Of course, prime ground is going for much more than that here.

Christmas trees are alot of hard work, and I think you would have a 5 year start up delay. It would take additional time and advertising to really build the business I would guess.

Just my two cents.
Clove
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, The work on the trees don't bother me at all. The hunting lease would be in conjunction with other ideas. My neighbor currently leases the same property for the right to post it for 1,000 a year.
I really don't think there is a market for meat goats here ... I don't know where I'd go with them or if I could really make a buck (no pun) off of them. I'd like to look into it more though.

As far as hay ... I'd really like to make more money than that off of it. I never ran the numbers but I know it's pretty cheap and I'd think I could make more off of it than wqith hay.

As far as the price ... I think I can get it for 3500/ac. It is a desirable area, but again, there are some issues with the property that make it somewhat less attractive than others.
 

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Even 3,000 an acre is alot for brush and gullies! Around here land like that goes for 750- 1,000 an acre, with good farmland for 1500. Even at 1500 an acre for farmland it takes some good management to pay it off and turn a profit in a few years. The farmland is probably "wore out" and will need alot of extra inputs to make it productive again. Keep in mind that any additional clearing you do will add 800-1000 an acre extra, and those steep brushy areas will only be good for timber production. If there is not a good stand, you'll have to knock it all down and either select thin or plant over again. Unless land in your area is really going for that much, and you have no doubt that should you decide to sell you would atleast make your money back, it seems to me that you are putting more money into it than it's worth. Unless of course you just want it to enlarge your current property and give you more of a buffer zone. My 2c from the Old Virginny backroads!
 

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Sounds like a poor investment to me. Probably could get the present owners to agree, too.

How much does the property make right now if you do not do anything to it?

How much are the taxes and other expenses?

So what is the yield on their proposed $400,000 investment.

The only way to make the project more profitable seems to be to turn the project into a job. A part time job working 100 acres should work out to 60-80 hours a week with no guarantee of a return on investment. No guarantee of a return of the investment either.

Sounds like this property will be for sale for a long time. :)
 

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i may have missed something, but what stops them from dividing it into 5 acre lots and putting double wides all over it? that's what happens here way too much. they can sell them fast and maximize a quick profit.
 

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Mike,

I have 50 acres of scrub I bought 3 years ago. So far I've cleared 7 acres with tractor, chain, and chainsaw. I hay those seven acres for cattle.

I've been thinking of putting cattle on it after I fence it. I hear cattle will clear out brush as good as goats. Fencing for goats is a problem since you need field fence and its hard to get through the woods. Electric fence will short out if a tree branch falls on it, so I'll probably use barbed wire.

Problem here is the start up costs will be more than the profit you'll make on the venture. I know with cattle, you'll have to come up with fencing and maybe haying equipment. If you buy the hay and feed, your profit gets reduced. I know I paid 1850/acre for my fifty and it won't be making any money for me for seven more years.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat though, and land is a good investment if you hang on to it for the long term.

Good Luck
 

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Master Of My Domain
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400 feet is not far to run utilities. building lots in my area are running around $30,000! these aren't 5 acre mini-steads', they are building lots where you look out your window and see your neighbor's deck. my uncle was offered $50,000 for an acre he has that borders state land. the location here is south central PA.

i got the idea that mike wants to buffer his current property and just help to offset the cost of the land as best he can. the others are right...i doubt rocky, hilly and gully ridden land will ever be the most productive land, but i don't think he wants to make it a top notch farm and profitable on it's own.

i would seriously look into hay, i think there is more money there than you realize. how would you manage the christmas tree venture? would you have people cut their own? would you sell wholesale to others? there is a long wait for trees to mature enough to sell. i think it is closer to 10 years from seedling, but i may be wrong. if you do that, i would recommend planting lots of the trendy firs that bring top dollar...like frasier fir, etc.

there are other things you could do long term. get permits and grow ginseng and goldenseal...like a few others on this board. ginseng takes about 7-8 years to mature and there are some regulations to follow.

i mentioned goats because they can utilize rough pasture and mature to a sellable size in one season.

you will need to market whatever you grow, so i guess you need to research all of the markets. don't forget insurance if you have the public over for christmas trees. if not, tell me where you are...my back is hurting already, lol.

how many folks could you squeeze in there for hunting rights?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well ... you're right on the money. I want the land for many reasons but mostly, and most urgently, because I don't want it developed. As stated earlier, I too think it would be a foolish investment if looking at it solely financially.

Christmas trees avg 7 years (from 4 yrs to well over 10). Figured cut your own.

BTW ... 25-30 acres are semi-flat and pastured. It is also already fenced (for cattle, not goats).

As far as hunting, I'm certain my neighbor would pay even more to keep people off of this property. He hates the idea of someone buying this property even more than me. He doesn't like anyone hunting "his" deer (and he doesn't even hunt!!). It'd be a drop in the bucket financially but a help none-the-less.

Ginseng is rough growing I thought and I think the wild stuff was where the real money is?
 

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Hey.

Find something better. It takes awhile to find a good piece of land. Everybody likes to sell the crap and keep the good stuff.

RF
 

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well there is 100 acres, cut in half. what if you farmed/homesteaded one half and used the other half for a campground, RV park type set up, tourism is big business and agritourism is a growing part of that market. with campers across the road you have a market for your surplus produce and meat/milk? and you could give tours of your operation and hayrides for kids etc.

just a thought.

dean

id love an oppertunity like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That sounds great Dean but I really don't want the constant people here ... almost like putting a trailer park there ... I don't want that! On the good side though ... That'd get rid of my neighbors :)
 

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Don't think the developers won't buy it, because they will.... They bought a piece of property here that just touched the corner of my property. The land was rough and heavily wooded with steep inclines. They just bulldozed it all and put in 240 homes.. :Bawling:

Now they are up the road a mile or 2 and are getting ready to clear more land for more homes.

I guess what I'm saying is if they can make a profit they will develop the land and with the price of new homes they can most definitly make a profit.

Oh and this is in York County, PA


On a side note;
Everytime I go down to my firing range, I get a visit from the local LEOs.. :)
It seems those that bought these new homes are a bunch of city folks who don't understand why we have this need to fire weapons. I really do have to laugh at them....
A few of them were tresspassing on my property and they didn't know who I was. I told them they shouldn't go down to the creek that way and they told me to mind my own business and proceded to go to the creek. Once they got about 10' into the woods they started yell about how their skin was burning. The idiots walked right into a patch of witch hazel/ burn hazel... I died laughing at them... then told them to get the [email protected]#$ off my property...

I know I'm cruel... but it was so funny..
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
EXACTLY ... I have the luxury of shooting out of my windows in any of 3 directions ... and I do! Develop that land and I couldn't shoot at all.

I understand development / construction ... that's the industry I'm in. I know they could make short work of that area if it were profitable ... I just don't know that it is though.
The sticking point though ... the power lines. I just don't know that a developer would want to go there. Moving them would be out of the question for residences ... major commercial maybe but not residential. Would they really want to chance homes next to that eyesore?

FYI: The next farm down about 1/2 mile or less is currently being developed. It had utilities and was 100% pasture. Hilly but not bad. Word was an even million for a little over 100 acres.


BYW Beowoulf90 ... huntingpa.com is pretty good site too.
 
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