Considering buying some land: Any pointers or suggestions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael D. Bunting, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    I'm looking to buy some vacant land...nothing too fancy really, maybe 2-10 acres (if I get the right price) in either Washington State (my current residence) or in Indiana (where I have lived before, and plan on retiring to perhaps sometime down the road).

    The land wouldn't be used for anyhting right away...but I plan on having a home built sometime down the road...and I don't want any neighbors right next door, or within view from my home (whenever I get it built).

    I don't think I would lose any $$$ using the land as an investment either (should I decide not to build on it)...I may not profit much or any from it...but I don't think I would have to sell it for a loss either.

    I'm currently deployed overses for about 45 more days...and once I get back I'll be searching hot and heavy. I'm currently using the internet to search for land in Washington state.

    Any pointers or suggestions for me? Thanks for any input!~
     
  2. Ken Wagner

    Ken Wagner Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I purchased some land about 6 months ago. I had been looking for some land away from towns. We live in a small town but we have lived in our house for twenty plus years and would like to build a new one. I had looked at some property but for one reason or another they just didn't feel right. Then an auction of land came up of over 500 acres. They split it up into 6 sections for the sale. I went out before the sale and walked around some. I went to the sale with a couple of parcels in mind. After the bidding started, and this was an experience like nothing I've seen, I decided on a 73 acre plot. To make a long story short, I got the land. It is about 2/3 woods with the balance in farm ground. It has quite a bit of road frontage, good road, city water runnig along the road, major plus, and a small pond. I had several people ask me to sell them some of the land so I know I could make my money back and then some.
    My advice is to check the web for land auction sites or check the local papers. The one I found was buyafarm.com which is more for the local area. Their parent company is more national and is at http://www.farmers-national.com/
    This site is really helpful in explaining how the auctions work and gives you past auctions to give you an idea of land prices that have been paid. Hope this gives you a start.
     
  3. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I've never bought undeveloped plots of land before, nor have I built a house myself, but seeing that you wish to build a home on your future land plot someday, you might want to consider the following (apologies if you know all this already!):

    - Is it safe to build a house on it? It would definitely be bad if the house sank into a sinkhole!

    - Where will you get your water and sewer from? I guess you'd need to dig a well and have a septic tank of some sort. And you'd need water treatment machines of some kind.

    Hmm, that's all I can think of right now.
     
  4. bruce townley

    bruce townley Stunt Coordinator

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    I would recommend you have the paperwork reviewed by an attorney when you choose to buy. I have seen very expensive problems develop AFTER a sale, because the person did not want to spend a couple hundred on an attorney to review the documents. Also, would ALWAYS recommend a survey with capped irons on each corner of the property. Again, saves a lot of trouble later. I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "We thought that tree line/fence/row of rocks was the property line, but...."
     
  5. Jesse Leonard

    Jesse Leonard Second Unit

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    And if you plan on building a house on the property in the future, you need to have the land reviewed by an engineer to ensure that it is able to be built upon. You don't want to buy land and then down the road find out it can't be built on. You don't want to just take the word of the seller on this. He will be able to give you an idea of the cost involved with hooking up electricity and water to the place. It may turn out to be some outrageously high sum that will cause you not to buy the property.

    Also, check to make sure that it is able to be zoned to be built on. If it is a remote place, chances are it is but you never know.

    But get all this stuff done BEFORE you buy the land!
     
  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Make sure you see it at high tide....[​IMG]
    Seriously, you need to check out what servicing it has available: water, power, phone, cable, etc, and if it isn't serviced, what cost you are looking at to do so. One property I was looking at would have cost over $60,000 to service for power alone, for an $80,000 lot.
    You should also look into the surrounding area and call the land authority about possible use problems - are they planning on putting a nuclear waste facility or something else which would depreciate you land value/quality of living nearby? You also need to check whether there are any rights restrictions on the property, such as water or mineral rights, which can be owned by someone other than the surface owner (sounds weird, but I ran into that while looking myself). Another property I was looking at had mineral rights owned by a mining company. Legally, they could have set up a mine in the back yard.
    You also need to have it properly surveyed, and check whether there are any building restrictions in the area. You will also want to know if it is geologically stable - is it on a flood plane or a fault line? Water and sewer are also important to look into, what are the codes in the area? If you need to install septic, you will want to know ahead of time whether the ground is suitable, since if you are sitting on bedrock you may need to be blasting or importing soil to get a legal perk rate.
    If you are planning on living there, how close are amenities? Hospital, fire, schools, groceries, HT stores. Are you part of a township or other incorporation that requires taxes? What are the assessed taxes on the property? What is it appraised for?
    Are there any covenances placed on the property? Any rights of way you should know about (wouldn't be great to build a house only to find out highways has a right of way through your living room).
    That should be a start. [​IMG]
     
  7. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Along with the above suggestions, another would be to investigate any former permit requests. I believe you can get this info through a township office or local government. The info would tell you if anyone who owned the property prior to you had used it to store underground tanks or containers (in farmland, this is a pretty common thing). If there has been permits for that sort of thing, have it verified that the tanks or containers have been removed and have it written in the land contract that the seller and buyer are aware of the circumstances. Removal of these tanks, such as fuel or sludge tanks, is a very expensive cleanup procedure and one you don't want to get stuck with. Once you buy the land, the burden of responsibility and cost to have them removed falls on you.

    Bruce
     
  8. Paul D Young

    Paul D Young Second Unit

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  9. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Thnaks so much for all the tips, pointers, and knowledge everyone!

    I'm still looking at land (via the internet until SEP) and I'm not sure what I want to do. It seems land in Washington state is pretty pricey.....even more so than I origianlly thought.

    I have been looking in the $15,000 to $20,000 range....and it seems like that will only get me .25 of an acre (In the areas I want anyway)!

    I was hoping to get an acre or two (or more!) for under $25,000....but now it seems that I would have to shell out $35,000 - $50,000 (or more!) for anything good.

    So, I might just start looking for a pre-existing home (new construction preferred) on 1-2 acres of land somewhere...but I'm still in the planning stages - so this could all change at any time.

    Again, thanks for all the help...I'll be sure to follow the fine advice pointed out here no matter which way I go. Thanks to all!
     

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