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Old 03-12-2012, 06:42 PM   #21
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Yes, I own land. About 14 acres.

When I did a deed search, I noticed that land values increased an average of about 6% a year over the course of a century.

Land as an investment and stocks as an investment might be an interesting comparison. Sure go buy a stock. They do well over time. Which one? I heard that you cannot lose with that Enron company....
The devil is in the details. Most people purchase land as a liability, not an investment. See the above posts. Kind of like owning a boat.
However, there are success stories.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:39 PM   #22
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We own about 7 acres in SW Oregon. About three acres is timberland which yields about 3 cords a year of dead standing wood which comes in real handy for our wood stove (main source of heat). The rest is for our goat herd of about 30 goats - milk, cheese and goat milk soap. Works well for us but of course we live on the property. Not sure this is the thrust of this thread.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Free To Canoe View Post
The devil is in the details. Most people purchase land as a liability, not an investment. See the above posts. Kind of like owning a boat.
However, there are success stories.
If the OP had asked for success stories, I would have provided my family's. Instead he asked for "special gotchas or liability to worry about as an owner".
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:16 PM   #24
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I am at teh stage of merely toying with the idea, but I am now in an area where one can purchase a chunk of recreational land in a nice area for relatively modest amounts of money and real estate taxes are de minimus. Anyone own land? Special gotchas or liability to worry about as an owner?


We have 100 acres - small by Texas standards. Here are some things to consider if you're going to live in the country.
  • Water availability. Know how deep the well is / will be and what is the underground source for the water. We have a UV light on our water line.
  • If you're dependent on a community water source, find out how they treat the water, how often they have "boil notices", and find out about their disaster preparedness plan as well as drought plans.
  • Where can you take your garbage? We have weekly garbage pickup and are darn glad to have it. I tip nicely at Christmas.
  • We have a whole-house generator because all the utility lines are above ground. If a tree falls on a utility line and no one was there to hear it, it still means the electricity will go out.
  • We put in an in-ground storm shelter right after we moved out here. Woudn't be without one these days.
  • Proximity to medical facilities.
  • Proximity of neighbors. That's good and bad.
  • Who owns the land around the parcel you're thinking about buying and what is that land used for and is it occupied.
  • If the land has an ag exemption, get to the tax office to see what it takes to continue the exemption. This is important because there are some areas where the exemption lapses with new owners and it takes a few years of sitting in the penaty box before you can get it back. You're looking for continuous ag exemption credit.
  • Have the surveyor put up fence markers and put up the fence as quickly as possible while the survey line is still clear. You'd be surprised how quickly an encroachment can happen.
  • How close are you to the nearest hardened road if the road to your property isn't paved.
  • Put up No Trespassing signs every 100'. It helps with the liability issue.
  • How long does it take the fire department to get to you in case of an emergency. Then plan on them not getting to you for at least double that amount of time. You're pretty much on your own so make sure you have a plan if there is a fire. We keep fire extinguishers in every building.
  • Join the local landowners organization if there is one.
  • Unless you want to be, you're not the local bug-out place. While you need to make sure you have enough provisions for your family for an extended period of time, your plan is for your family. I'll be happy to get on my soap box if you're interested.
  • Proximity to universities / colleges if that's important.
  • Car insurance is pretty reasonable in rural areas. The gotcha is dwelling or farm and ranch policies because most buildings are considered "unprotected" by fire rating standards.
  • There's nothing like walking out in the hay meadow on a clear night and touching the stars.
  • There's nothing like watching fireflies play at night.
  • There's nothing like a blanket of butterflies on the flowers (OK.. weeds) in early spring.
  • There's nothing quite like the silence of the morning broken by a woodpecker or a ScissorTail.
  • There's nothing quite like the peace and harmony you experience when you're away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • There's no light polution. There's rarely any noise pollution.
  • You need to find out if you get mineral rights to the property. We don't have our mineral rights and hope they'll keep drilling around us and leave us alone. So far that's happened. Maybe it's because we're the only resident landowners out here and it's just easier dealing with the commercial timber folks.
  • Create relationships as early as possible with the trades: electrician, water well folks, plumbers, anyone who can maintain equipment. That way you don't have to scramble if you need something. This is true no matter where you live.
  • Line up the doctor and dentist. We went through two doctors and three dentists before we found ones with whom we were comfortable.
That's just a quick list off the top of my head. I'm sure I'll think of more things if you're interested.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:24 PM   #25
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Here are a couple you missed:

Quote:
Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
  • There's nothing like walking out in the hay meadow on a clear night and touching the stars seeing the place ripped up by feral hogs.
  • There's nothing like a blanket of butterflies on the flowers (OK.. weeds) in early spring chiggers and ticks covering you up after your walk in the hay meadow.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:32 PM   #26
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You're bad.... very bad. Now I have to clean the sweet tea off my monitor.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:43 PM   #27
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Well, no chiggers or feral hogs or tornadoes in our neck of the woods. I would either not be building on the land or be putting up at most a bare bones cabin, so a lot of the worries about maintenance and damage are allayed. Water is a big issue. Then there are mountain lions and coyotes to consider (although the coyote eradication hunting season is all year round)...
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:28 PM   #28
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I have 40 acres in Michigan that I inherited. My Dad made friends with the neighbors way back and gave them deer hunting rights in exchange for them keeping an eye on the place. The neighbor's "kids" (they are probably in their '70s now) are keeping an eye on the property for me.

Dad had owned 120 acres but had trouble with ATVs and sold the back 80 acres because of the trespassing.

I've thought about the possibility of a fire burning down the trees. That would hurt the value of the property quite a bit.

Have you thought about whether you would have to fence the property?
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:03 PM   #29
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When I was thinking of buying property shortly before retiring (never got around to it), I bought an excellent book which covered all sorts of the issues issues involved : rights of way, easements, water, mineral rights, zoning, other legal and practical issues, etc. :

"Finding & Buying Your Place in the Country"
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:30 PM   #30
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Would this land generate any cash flow?
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:01 AM   #31
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We are looking for acreage, now. The plan is to build our dream house, pole barn, etc., and then sell where we are now. In the next county or two over. I will be retired and not chained to a work place.

I don't think I would want to have land where you were not living on it. Too many thieves, poachers, and scum bags to contend with. You can keep them under control if you are living on the property. Many of my friend's places have been burglarized, tractors stolen, trash piled up and gates destroyed because nobody was around.

Otherwise, give me rattlesnakes, ticks, mosquitoes, coyotes, mud, and country living any day to living in a city.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:47 AM   #32
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I had to laugh when feral hogs were mentioned. In our case, the problem was the neighbor's domestic hogs occasionally escaping their fenced area. I looked outside one morning to see about a dozen of them "excavating" our landscaping. They truly are four-legged rototillers as they root about looking for food. In our case, the neighbor was a good guy and helped take care of the damage. His farm was actually about a mile east of us.

The ten acre parcel was in an area zoned "agricultural". The good thing about these places is that you can do just about anything you want with the land

The bad thing is your neighbors can do just about anything they want with their land

Some areas have noxious weed problems and the landowner is responsible for controlling them. Just another detail to be aware of.

Last but not least, be prepared to do battle with rodents. Mice can make rural life downright unpleasant at times. Unattended buildings that aren't sealed up down to the last pinhole can quickly become infested.

I have to say there were many enjoyable aspects to living there too. We mainly sold it 3 years ago due to approaching retirement and our desire to do a lot of traveling.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:47 AM   #33
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Would this land generate any cash flow?
Strictly recreational if I do it. Maybe make some money from a hunting lease, but maybe not.
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