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 04-17-2000, 12:02 Post: 14855
Rob



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 Vacant Land

OK, this isn't really tractor related, but I'll explain...Wife and I are shopping for 5-10 acres to eventually build on. While researching tractors (just for cost estimating) I happened across this board. Now I'm hooked and even have my tractor picked out (talk about the cart before the horse, right!?!). My question is, does anyone know af a similar forum related to vacant land and associated issues? We have lot's of questions about financing, zoning, what to watch out for, developers, etc. Any help is appreciated. Thanks, Rob (Northern IN, looking in SW MI)






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 04-17-2000, 12:14 Post: 14856
DennisCTB

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 Vacant Land

I did the same. I will start a topic on this here "Building a House". If
gets popular we mkae a separate Board
-Dennis
WebMaster






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 04-17-2000, 18:52 Post: 14861
Joe



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 Vacant Land

Hi Rob,

I know this might sound like something too good to be true but I have a recommendation for you. There was a book given to me as a gift when I was in the same position you are. The title is "Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country" by Les Scher. Its an expensive book $25. or so but worth so much more. I think of it as a 'must have' if your are buying rural property. Its in its 5th or 6th revision and is loaded with everything you need to be aware of. Its written by a real estate attorney. Please see the reviews at Amazon.com on this book. All 5 stars. I've given several away as gifts to friends becuase it saved me from several costly mistakes that I hoped others could avoid.

Best Regards,

Joe






Link:   Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country 

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 04-17-2000, 20:10 Post: 14864
dave g



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 Vacant Land

maybe i should get that book after the fact. i can say take your time, and have plenty of money. i looked for 2.5 years and kept coming back to the same property. cecked on it during rain and flood. was realativly good, alitle low in the back so i barganed. i walked away twice at great risk, (as this was the best large prop on mkt) the last time for a year. i also had a great agent, went through 2 or 3. getin ready to trench my electric and phone. drooling over jd 4100. i could go on and on






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 04-18-2000, 14:38 Post: 14883
Kim Hartshorn



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 Vacant Land

One thing though is that the things to look out for differ in so many parts of the country. Especially in terms of state regulations. Two things to definitly check out once you are getting serious about a property. Go to the local office, could be Department of Natural Resources, could be county clerk, could be building inspector even...go to the local office that can tell you the wet land situation for your property. This is the "official" wetland situation for your property...not whether or not it appears to be wet. DO NOT TRUST ANY REAL ESTATE AGENT on this matter. It is important to remember that real estate agents are working for the seller and not for the buyer...even if it is listed with a different agent or company. The only exception is if you sign a buyers agent agreement with the real estate agent, but most will not do this and it is also expensive since their pay comes from you and not from a commission of sale. In any case you might find a nice piece of property with a nice building site but no way to get to the building site without crossing designated wet lands. Or an accessible building site but no place for the septic field. Or as in our case a beautiful piece of property that was 100% designated wetland (We figured it out before we made an offer)

The second thing is to check on the drinking water situation, check with neighbors and check with local drillers and check with the local building. inspectors. There might be sulfurated water...or only really deep water.
These issues become especially important when you are looking for vacant land because in some cases the land that is still vacant is vacant for a reason.

Keep this stuff in mind....but have fun too. We took five years to find our piece and it was worth every minute of it. Dont be in a hurry either because the more land you walk the better you will get at assessing it.

Good Luck

Kim






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 04-19-2000, 04:06 Post: 14913
TomG

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 Vacant Land

There is a land forum at http://www.agriculture.com/agtalk/Ag_Groups.html.

I don't think it's particularly focussed on purchasing issues, but it's there. Unlike here, the forums at @agriculture aren't very conservation oriented. All responses tend to come in the first day or so. There is some expertise among participants there. However, again unlike here, some responses can be somewhat abusive or a little nutty.






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 00-00-0000, 00:00 Post: 18086
Jack LoSecco



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Excellent advice from Kim. We recently closed on 5.1 acres after looking for about 2 years. I was fortunate enough to have long time friend in the real estate business who was concerned about our interests rather then the seller's. We did quite a bit of research prior to submitting a purchase offer. We visited the town office and checked out the tax maps, flood maps and to get comparables, looked at land assessments and obtained lists of all land parcels for sale or sold in the area over the last year. I also got a copy of the building codes to ensure that the property was suited for construction. Things like easements, setback, minimum road frontage and even the unobstructed distance up and down the road from the point of your driveway entry are important. We also talked to numerous neighbors concerning their septic systems and wells. Percolation rates, well depths, water quality (sulfer), and in our area, radon gas are of concern. I called a several well drillers who had worked in the area as well as septic system installers and water purification experts to get an idea of prices. Once we decided to put in an offer, we retained a lawyer who was experienced in rural land dealings. We drew up an offer contingent upon the property passing a percolation test. Although the land is high and well drained, clay is prevalent which impedes percolation. Land that does not perc in accordance with the local code may require a more elaborate leach field raising the cost of a septic system from 4k-5k to 10k-14k. We were advised to contract for the perc tests ourselves rather than have the seller do it. The entire process was lengthy in that we put in the PO in Oct 99 and closed in June 00. (Winter set in which made conducting the perc tests difficult). However, the extra time afforded us the opportunity to do more research and witness the property through the fall, winter and spring. So far we are very pleased and are currently in the process of designing a home and selecting a builder. I have quite a bit of experience in home construction and remodeling. My next dilemma is, should I contract the house myself!






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 07-19-2000, 01:01 Post: 18094
TomG

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Some things I'd do are: Use a lawyer. The presence of easements, work orders, property line disputes and public domain roads are hard to check without experience.

Check for storage of toxic and hazardous materials. We had over 400 gallons of waste oil and roofer's LP tanks on the property. These things have to be removed, or your insurance can be compromised. If removal isn't built into a sales contract, a new owner does it at their expense.

Check if the original dwelling had an occupancy permit (If required under local codes). At least in Ontario (where the government has been regulation happy for decades) is that people have, or buy, hunt camps and cottages. The camps are considered recreational property and are not subject to residential codes. Some years back, residential codes changed from requirements for 4" walls to 6" inch walls. People are retiring with the idea of selling their city house and moving to the cottage. The cottage has to meet current residential codes before an occupancy permit is issued. So, quite a few folks are adding several inches to their walls, upgrading their electrical service etc. before moving to their retirement homes. The same thing happens if somebody decides to move a modular or mobile house.






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 07-19-2000, 01:01 Post: 18097
Bird Senter

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Jack, when you talk about raising the costs of a septic system to as much as $10k, I wonder just what you decided on using. Have you considered an aerobic sewer treatment system? I'm sure it isn't for everyone, but that's what my brother and I have and I wouldn't want anything else. It cost $4k three years ago and I pay $200 a year for a maintenance contract, but we have clay that does not perc well at all and a lot of folks have trouble with some of the older septic systems, especially during wet weather or when they have company and extra people using the facilities, so the aerobic systems are getting more popular all the time in this area. And we never have to worry about overloading the system.






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 07-19-2000, 09:37 Post: 18099
keitho



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 Vacant Land

I have just gone through the experience of purchasing vacant land. Myself, my friend and his brother purchased 40 acres which we subdivided into 6 parcels. What an interesting experience! I wouldn't want to do it again anytime soon, though. My advice is: Read "Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country" by Les Scher, get a good lawyer, find out everything you can about the area, and get as many contingencies in the contract as you can without jeopardizing your negotiations. We have about 30% WETLANDS - they will be your worst nightmare if you don't find out what you can and can't do. Also, don't think you can get by without a real survey.
But, when I stand and look at the view and feel the breeze, it was worth all the work (and I now have an excuse to get a tractor!)
Also, I saw the post from Bird Senter about aerobic septic systems, that seems very interesting. We also have poorly drained clay that doesn't perc well (West Central Florida) and I was wondering what company you use and recommend?






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