LONG narrow property thoughts

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cc-rider, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Hi!

    Still looking at property! One of these days I'll actually BUY something! :)

    I found a 1/2 acre spot. I know... I really want 10 acres, but to get out of town....1/2 acre will be heaven!

    This property is 66 foot frontage by 350-ish deep. Already has a new septic in, and an old well that may need to be redone. Had a house on it that was demolished and the site leveled.

    My thoughts....

    I currently live on a corner lot in town....which means I have sidewalks on two sides of me that have to be maintained, shoveled, cleared, replaced, whatever at the city's whims. I currently owe $4K to replace one 135' stretch of sidewalk....but don't get me started on that! Anyway..... only having 66' of frontage makes me think that if I have to pay an assessment for the street, or whatever, it can't be much.

    Also, being 350' deep, I can do a lot towards the back of my property that no one will ever notice. :)

    Biggest bonus... I can buy it without selling my current house, so can fix it up and/or build as I can afford. With a septic system already in, I could probably put up a barn/garage and live in that if I had to, or just stay at my current home.

    My goal is to eventually sell my current home and get out somewhere that I can have a garden and fruit trees. The longer I wait to sell my home, the better I will be because it is being zoned commercial and, sooner or later, some development will want it (at a higher price than residential, I'm hoping! I have the first "develop-able" lot in that area, location-wise). In the meantime, this 1/2 acre parcel is only about 20 minutes from me. Close enough to go there to "play" whenever I desire.

    I'm doing a drive-by tonight. I'm excited. But on the other hand, I really want 5-10 acres and woods. Should I settle for less? "Less" may be all I can ever realistically afford! :) Just afraid that if I don't "go for it", I will sit in this house in town all my life and dream away waiting for the perfect opportunity.

    Whatcha think? You've all given me good advice before.
     
  2. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    Be sure that the law will allow building on that site, and how far from the property line the foundation has to be. That is very narrow and you want to be able to get to the back with all the goodies you will want for your gardens. With that small a piece you would want, IMO, to be sure it is a quiet neighborhood that would give you the peace you are looking for.
     

  3. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    One question - Why are you looking at a long, skinny 1/2 acre lot when what you "really want" is 5-10 acres in the woods?

    You will hate it when someone moves in their hogs, chickens, ratty mobile, loud dogs, etc. next to you.

    Long, narrow pieces of land are good for landing strips, but yours isn't long enough.

    I say keep on lookin' unless this is all you ever will be able to afford.
     
  4. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    :eek: Actually, my thoughts were the same as Steve's, but I just didn't want to be a negative nellie :eek:

    When you are boxed in in town, 1/2 acre seems like a lot, but in the greater scheme of things, especially as long and narrow as this is, you really are limiting yourself.

    Try finding an owner financed bareland parcel and start paying on it. That is what we did. Had our orchard, pine trees gardens etc. already started before we ever moved out onto the land. The trick is.........DO IT instead of just dream it. Make the sacrifice and make the plunge. We had a five year plan and ended up on the land in two and 1/2 years.
     
  5. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    the half acre lot can give you a lot of potential. I produce garden , raise bait and sell decorative plants on 1/2 acre of my property in addition to my investment trading since my layoff three years ago. The secret is to approach it all in attainable BISF approach. Two good books are square foot gardening and cash from square foot gardening. You can check them out at www.squarefootgardening.com

    A good book on worm farming is worms eat my garbage www.wormwoman.com
     
  6. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    The lot I had before I got was almost exactly those dimensions. I did not like it. For one I had to sacrifice real estate for a road from front to back because if your house is in the front, you've got to have a way to haul stuff to the back. Mine was on a slight incline too making it worse... The other thing I didn't like is that you are really close to neighbors - I was only 10 ft away from one line! Now the lots on either side of me were empty when I was there, but scared me when both had people measuring and putting up stakes!

    1/2 acre was plenty of space, but the layout of a narrow lot was not to my liking at all.

    Now I have 4.5 acres in an almost perfect square with the house almost dead center - much better!


    My advice is keep looking something will come up. Good luck!
     
  7. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    Oh - one more thing. I did not have a well on that site - it would be almost impossible to guarantee clean water with your well that close to any neighbor in my opinion.

    Debbie
     
  8. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    CCrider doesnt say what the neighbors are on either side, but I'd be willing to guess this long narrow plot was someones home place and there are open fields on either side. Am I right CC? Even if there are neighbors either side you could do a lot with 60 x 350. There is a similar place for sale here in my town with a small house toward the front and a garage and a small guest house. The old boy who used to live there kept a huge truck garden in the back and sold veggies out front in the summertime and did a brisk business. He also kept a few chickens. Depending on the orientation to the sun, you could do a lot with that strip of ground. Create a nice little orchard up front with a bit of grass where you could tether a goat and keep the house back from the street. Most zoning if there is any would allow you to build at least a 30-40 foot wide house. 30'ft square is 900sq ft. per floor . You could build a 2-3 story tower house and have a fine view.
    Keep the back half of the lot for a big garden and what ever other activities you might want. If you have close neighbors on either side, a good tall hedge on either side would give you plenty of privacy to my mind. If the price is reasonable I would go for it. You could just garden on the whole plot and stay in your house till you sell. Plenty of folks around the world live in the village and garden on a seperate plot of ground.
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I bought a tract recently that was 78 feet by 2000+........no one wanted it but me. I own the adjacent property and I bought it cheap since it was not a desired piece. Personally, I would not buy a stand alone property that narrow. If you have to meet zoning requirements you may be in trouble. Here where I live you must have a 15 ft setback on each side and you cannot install a moblile home with the narrow dimension perpendicular to the main road unless you are a long ways off the road. These requirements were put into place to discriminate against mobile home dwellers and they work. I do not agree with the code but then again there is a lot that goes on here that bristles me. Never buy something you cannot readily resell. Cheap properties are cheap for a reason and you need to always understand the reason to determine if it will harm you in the future. Continue looking, secure and protect your downpayment, and you will find something and will be prepared when it surfaces.
     
  10. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You could always grow spaghetti.
     
  11. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Something else to keep in mind is this. If you can get the 1/2 acre reasonable enough, you can use it as a steppingstone. An aquaintence purchased a 3/4 acre with lo grade soil in 1987 for $600 . He used the rock as base for worm beds and raised $6000 to $15000 worth of bait per year off of it i. Along the way he also put a trailer and worming shed on the property. In 1999 he sold the acreage and dwelling for $48000. Not a bad return for 12 years use of $600.

    He not only made the most of a small scrub piece of ground, he taught a few of us how to pursue a dream to reality. While everyone wants to "dream the good dream", few realize that the first step to self reliency is maximizing the resources at your disposal to build assets as you go. Evaluate it to your capabilities, dreams and potentials. If at all possible utilize it as a steppingstone. decide if its better than what you have today and can it be the first affordable step in the direction you seek.
     
  12. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    Dad the real estate guy says to think about how fast you can sell it if your dream property comes along in your price range? Will buying the property tie up all your available savings? It could be a stepping stone, or it could be a sinkhole- it all depends on so many factors....

    Cait
     
  13. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I grew up in England where for most people 1/2 acre would be an estate!
    Lots of site plans around for lots like that if you surf for UK sites. The using it a stepping stone towards your dream idea sounds like a good one if age is still on your side and you have a years to go. Dreams are wonderful things, but they are dreams, sometimes you need to be realistic and if you may not ever be able to afford that 4-5 acres I'd say go for it. None of us know how long we will be on this earth. Great way to get out of town and start getting experience, maybe then you'll say 4 acres is too much or that you really want 20. In which case you read the archives on how to make money and aim higher with the land you aready have. When I had 1/3 of an acre I would start perennials in a tiny greenhouse, winter tham over in a make shift greenhouse and sell them. Just doing that for a few years and saving what you make would go towards your dream land. My friends laughed at me for doing that. Now I have 12 acres and those same people are still in their apts!

    Good luck with your decision.

    Liz in VA
     
  14. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hmm, Around here 1/2 acre is not enough space for a septic system. Its hard to see how 1/2 acre will be enough for both a septic and a well. THat would concern me.
     
  15. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    I'd say it depends on the price. Then factor in what the adjoining (and nearby) property has on it. If you're next door to a lazy hillbilly with a grubby $500 trailer, 6 kids, 12 dogs that never quit barking, and 14 junk cars, the property had better be very cheap or free.

    Long narrow lots aren't for everyone, but the demand could surprise you.
     
  16. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Reporting back in. :)

    I went to see the property last night. Because some of it was still covered with snow, I couldn't tell where the septic and well were. That worries me. No vents or covers that I could see. As for the advertised "fruit trees and berries", there was a big black walnut tree, and a couple other trees that MIGHT be some sort of fruit tree (wild plum, maybe?), and scrub-brush trees on the perimeter with some wild berries growing in them. I love the way realtors advertise!

    Anyway.... it is on a very busy highway (route 30, if you know Ohio), but this section of route 30 is scheduled to be detoured to the "new" route 30 once it is built. Will lose all of the traffic when that happens...and that is a good thing! Big "truck" road, now.

    Physical description - surrounding property:
    One side is all farm ground.... maybe 20-30 acres. Development possibilities, maybe, down the road. That's a bad thing.

    The other side is the neighbor's side-yard, which is twice as big as this lot. I'm sure it will never be developed.... they keep it all mowed, etc., and they have a really nice, fancy farm. Behind is a farmground....wouldn't make sense to ever develop that since there is no access and the building codes around here say you need frontage. Across the highway is another huge farm, but you are facing their front yard (the buildings all sit way back). I'd venture to say nothing will ever be built there.

    So it is probably a pretty safe bet to say you won't have any neighbors that you don't already have. Zoning prohibits mobile homes, junk cars, etc., so that shouldn't be a problem.

    Yeah, that concerns me. Supposedly, it is already in there, but as someone else mentioned, how safe can it be if you have farm ground run-off so close?
    That's a concern.

    It IS better than what I have today. But, like someone else mentioned... how quickly can I sell it when something better comes along? Am I just grasping at straws? I was hoping that when I saw it, I'd fall head-over-heels in love with it and KNOW it was the right place. That didn't happen. I went home and called my son and discussed it. He said "but Mom, it isn't REALLY what you want...why settle? Just wait and it will come along".

    You're hitting the nail on the head, Ponderosa. I'm "mid-life". :waa: Two grown children, 3 grandchildren. And on my own, so this is a scary thing for me. I'm thinking that once I buy something now..... this is it. I bought this house is town, and I love it, but I knew it was temporary when I bought it.

    As for waiting for the "right" thing. It may not happen, realistically. This parcel was $20K. That seems high for 1/2 acre, but in this part of Ohio you just can't find land. A 2-acre piece of farmground in the middle of a bunch of other 2-acre parcels, goes for about $20K. That's bare ground, no septic or well, etc. Add another $10K for that. I agree...this 1/2 acre is getting an inflated price probably......

    I just don't know! If I were 10 years younger, I'd just sit tight and wait. As it is, I feel that sitting and waiting is wasting time. I've already wasted 5 years by not setting any goals or accomplishing anything. (But that's another story for Singletree!!! :) )

    My other option would be to tear out all the trees on my side lot here in town and plant an orchard, etc. I have a lot of "ornamental" trees... windbreaks, etc., that do nothing except block the sun. If I took them out, I'd have a pretty good 60'X135' lot to have my garden, orchard, etc. I can even have chickens in town! :) A major drawback with that is that I really want a house with a southern exposure and lots of windows. Mine faces north and you can't change a thing about it because the attached garage is on the south. I could have the yard/orchard/chickens I want, but not the house.

    And I know this is a stupid thing, and a silly reason for wanting country property, but I want to be able to walk in my backyard and burn a log in a fire-pit if I want to without the fire department's permission!

    I'm just so afraid of making a mistake -- buying a property that really ISN'T what I want, but afraid that I really can't afford what I DO want, and if I wait, I won't be able to afford ANYTHING. :waa:

    Anyway...thanks for the input, and for letting me bounce this off! Sometimes it just helps to have another viewpoint, and yours are all valuable!

    Chris
    in cold Ohio
     
  17. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    Another couple of pebbles to throw into whatever side of the balance seems appropriate.

    Picture an acre. I grew up with a measurement of a chain (a surveyor's chain - 22 yards - 66 feet - 100 links in a chain). An acre is 10 square chains. Two and a half acres is a square 5 chains - 110 yards - 100 metres - on a side. This is also a hectare. That's an hellacious big amount of land to keep in order with low-tech methods for anyone like me, who is beginning to realise that in ten years or so I will be getting on a bit. In fact, think about how much land you can use in ten years time, and how much land you can use until you have put ten years of development into it. Half an acre may be getting close (although I'd still prefer 2½ acres of flat land at the edge of a small village).

    However, as Shrek suggested, you can work the land intensively, and you can use it as a learning-ground. If you can't use half an acre, you sure can't use more.

    Another point. Fencing costs HEAPS, and long-and-narrow is inefficient. You could boundary-fence a square acre for the same as that long-and-narrow half acre you're looking at. You could fence a square ten acres for only three times as much.
     
  18. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    If the firepit is holding you back...invest some money in a chimenea (spelling?) or a metal contained fireplace made specifically for contained outdoor use. Most municipalities will let you have that as it becomes a decorative type use and not a "firepit" burning brush, etc.

    Consider ditching the garage and making it a sunny room. Or if it is connected to the house and you still want a garage, add another room to the other side and call it your den. Lots of greenhouse windows and mellow atmosphere.

    I think there might be some ways you could be happy at your current place a while longer while you think about the future and what you can afford.
     
  19. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Thanks for the ideas. I've got a chiminea, but it isn't the same. As for building a room, I've thought of that, too..... but it seems terribly wasteful to build onto a house that is already too big, just to have another room that is sunnier. What do I do with the dreary living room I already have? I already have a family room, too, that I never use.

    The perfect solution would be to find someone that will trade me their cabin in the country for a 3-bed, 2 bath Victorian in the city. :) Someone should start a business hooking up these kinds of people. (There you go Ken! Or Shrek!) :)