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Retirement Land
Old 06-04-2005, 07:03 PM   #1
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Retirement Land

I am thinking of buying a small acreage to build on when I retire. Does anyone here have any experience with buying raw land and any pitfalls I should watch for. The land will not be near where I live now.
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-04-2005, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: Retirement Land

Check for flooding, prior use, any chemical or other undesirable possible dumping, have some soil and water tests done, find out how much it'll cost to get a building permit, run any roads, put in any sewer/water/septic/phone/cable and who has to pay for what. Find out all about the zoning. Who owns the adjacent properties and does anyone know if they plan to develop the land soon and how.
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-04-2005, 07:50 PM   #3
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Re: Retirement Land

Quote:
Originally Posted by th
Check for flooding, prior use, any chemical or other undesirable possible dumping, have some soil and water tests done, find out how much it'll cost to get a building permit, run any roads, put in any sewer/water/septic/phone/cable and who has to pay for what.* Find out all about the zoning.* Who owns the adjacent properties and does anyone know if they plan to develop the land soon and how.
Pretty good list! You can learn a lot just by talking to people who live nearby.

JG
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-04-2005, 08:03 PM   #4
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Re: Retirement Land

Also electricity, if you want that ;-).

If you're building a private road, check with the local fire department to see what kind of requirements they have on your road if'n they have to bring a truck out. When we looked into it there had to be a circular or Y-shaped area at the end of the road so they could turn it around, and the road had to be of sufficient quality to support the trucks.

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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-04-2005, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: Retirement Land

You need a buyer's agent that knows the area. He can give you some rules of thumb as to value of land with improvements like water well, fencing, cleared and managed land, what the neighboring land owners hold, zoning, utilities, and much more.

He can help you bargain with seller, find financing or negotiate that with seller also. The 3% he costs you will usually be born by seller as part of his 6% brokerage fees paid at closing.
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-04-2005, 08:42 PM   #6
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Re: Retirement Land

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Originally Posted by Ol_Rancher
You need a buyer's agent that knows the area. He can give you some rules of thumb as to value of land with improvements like water well, fencing, cleared and managed land, what the neighboring land owners hold, zoning, utilities, and much more.

He can help you bargain with seller, find financing or negotiate that with seller also. The 3% he costs you will usually be born by seller as part of his 6% brokerage fees paid at closing.
For those of you who have not heard the story (and those who long to hear it
again) ............... About 2 years ago we bought 7 acres north of Dallas. It was
cattle land whcih was subdivided into min. 5 acre lots. Beautiful spot.
Nice trees, 2 ponds, etc. I knew the area pretty well (50 miles north of Dallas).
No real "oops" moments, but I aborted the deal just because it turned into more
hassle than I wanted to deal with. The point is that I did everything right
except to recognize what a lot of trouble long distance building would be
(and how fast the cost estimates would climb). Sold the land and bought the condo. Less invested, easily rented, no hassles. I would still like to have a
small ranch with some horses. Maybe in my next life.............

JG
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-04-2005, 11:34 PM   #7
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Re: Retirement Land

Hi Lazarus:

For you and for anyone interested in land I HIGHLY recommend "Finding and Buying your Place in the Country" by Les Scher and Carol Scher (Dearborn Financial Publishing).

Les Scher is an attorney specializing in rural real estate and property issues, and this book is chock full of every piece of information you can imagine, including mistakes and scams to avoid.

Well worth twice the price -- I cannot say enough good things about it. I learned a LOT.

Best of luck with your dream!
Caroline
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-05-2005, 04:39 AM   #8
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Re: Retirement Land

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
Hi Lazarus:

For you and for anyone interested in land I HIGHLY recommend "Finding and Buying your Place in the Country" by Les Scher and Carol Scher (Dearborn Financial Publishing).*

Les Scher is an attorney specializing in rural real estate and property issues, and this book is chock full of every piece of information you can imagine, including mistakes and scams to avoid.

Well worth twice the price -- I cannot say enough good things about it.* I learned a LOT.

Best of luck with your dream!
Caroline
I read it. Agree. Good read.

JG
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-05-2005, 07:59 PM   #9
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Re: Retirement Land

Found out the land I was looking at has a possible pig farm as a neighbor. Unless they want to give me free ham and bacon I think the deal is off!
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-05-2005, 08:10 PM   #10
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Re: Retirement Land

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus
Found out the land I was looking at has a possible pig farm as a neighbor. Unless they want to give me free ham and bacon I think the deal is off!
Yep, they stink. My Dad was talking to a local pig farmer and commented
on the odor, Farmer said, "Smells like money to me!" I think the market
pretty much tanked a few years ago. Anyway, a lot of pig farmers around here
switched to something else.

JG
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-05-2005, 11:03 PM   #11
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Re: Retirement Land

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus
I am thinking of buying a small acreage to build on when I retire. Does anyone here have any experience with buying raw land and any pitfalls I should watch for. The land will not be near where I live now.
Here's a horror story but one to learn from. We bought an acre in an area that had been sub-divided (very important word) in the 60's.* The CC&Rs were reasonable.* Due to lack of utilities no one had built there so we were in the middle of a nice 100 or so acres of pristine desert. We built our home and lived there for 5 years then (DUM dum DUM) someone began buying up lots around us and wanted to develop the whole area.* The developer and his axman, I mean project manager, formed a HOA, changed the CC&Rs and charged us $20,000+ for bringing in roads and utilities that we didn't need. They then completely bladed the desert and built McMansions as far as the eye could see.* We no longer live there, too much bad blood.

In Arizona, if the land has been sub-divided and there are CC&Rs in place, lot owner's can form a HOA and change the CC&Rs by a majority vote, each lot having one vote.* So the guy with the most lots wins and all lot owner's are forced to be a part of the HOA.* There is no opt out. The HOA can then assess you for whatever it deems necessary for the "community". It was a miserable experience.

Caveat Emptor

Judy

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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-05-2005, 11:35 PM   #12
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Re: Retirement Land

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWV
Here's a horror story but one to learn from. We bought an acre in an area that had been sub-divided (very important word) in the 60's.* The CC&Rs were reasonable.* Due to lack of utilities no one had built there so we were in the middle of a nice 100 or so acres of pristine desert. We built our home and lived there for 5 years then (DUM dum DUM) someone began buying up lots around us and wanted to develop the whole area.* The developer and his axman, I mean project manager, formed a HOA, changed the CC&Rs and charged us $20,000+ for bringing in roads and utilities that we didn't need. They then completely bladed the desert and built McMansions as far as the eye could see.* We no longer live there, too much bad blood.

In Arizona, if the land has been sub-divided and there are CC&Rs in place, lot owner's can form a HOA and change the CC&Rs by a majority vote, each lot having one vote.* So the guy with the most lots wins and all lot owner's are forced to be a part of the HOA.* There is no opt out. The HOA can then assess you for whatever it deems necessary for the "community". It was a miserable experience.

Caveat Emptor

Judy

Hi Judy,

As I was reading your story I was saying to myself, this sounds like an Arizona horror story. We know several people in Arizona who lost money in a big way because of HOA shenanigans. The Arizona state legislature is the best real estate money can buy.
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-06-2005, 12:40 PM   #13
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Re: Retirement Land

Zoning restrictions can be a pain, as can salt-water intrusion into the well water or lack of percolation in the septic field. And fixing either of those latter problems can cost a ton of money against the zoning restrictions. If you can solve all of these issues then we can pick up about 3000 North Shore acres real cheap.

Around here it's also wise to pay an archaeologist to survey your land for ancient Hawaiian burial caves, heiau, and other development impediments. (SG, there's a possible retirement hobby for you!) It might be the same on the Mainland for Native American artifacts.
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-06-2005, 01:56 PM   #14
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Re: Retirement Land

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Originally Posted by Nords
Zoning restrictions can be a pain, as can salt-water intrusion into the well water or lack of percolation in the septic field.* And fixing either of those latter problems can cost a ton of money against the zoning restrictions.* If you can solve all of these issues then we can pick up about 3000 North Shore acres real cheap.

Around here it's also wise to pay an archaeologist to survey your land for ancient Hawaiian burial caves, heiau, and other development impediments.* (SG, there's a possible retirement hobby for you!)* It might be the same on the Mainland for Native American artifacts.
Archaeology laws at the federal level require mitigation only under certain specific conditions: Federal money is used on the development, water drainage will be altered on adjacent property, etc. Most states in the southwest add laws that require mitigation if State funds are used and, of course, burials of any kind (historic or prehistoric) are handled under burial laws. But typically, if you own the land you can do what you want to it. Be sure and look the other way if the bulldozer pushes over some old human bones. Since the Hohokam cremated their dead, that doesn't happen too often around Phoenix.

When the mitigation laws kick in, the developer is required to set aside an amount of money equal to 2% of the development budget to be used on archaeology. There are a number of Salvage archaeology firms throughout the country that live off of this type of mitigation work. I've been asked to join several of them. But that would be work.
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-06-2005, 11:38 PM   #15
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Re: Retirement Land

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Originally Posted by - SG
Hi Judy,

The Arizona state legislature is the best real estate money can buy.* *
SG, you are so right. Developers rule in AZ!

Judy
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-07-2005, 01:56 AM   #16
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Re: Retirement Land

SG & JWV:

The problem with the AZ legislature is knowing which ones, once bought, will actually deliver (prior to indictment). I wonder if they copied their code of conduct from our neighbors in Sonora? Oh well, at least its a dry heat 8)
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-07-2005, 06:16 AM   #17
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Re: Retirement Land

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SG, you are so right.* Developers rule in AZ!

Judy
Someone "rules" in every state. In Illinois it's crooked clueless
politicians. The Az. situation sounds like good old fashioned capitalism to me.

JG
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-07-2005, 11:53 AM   #18
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Re: Retirement Land

Ooog. I learned my lesson about buying near a large swath of undeveloped land. Before I bought my last mcmansion, I had almost decided on one particularly nice home. I liked it because it was a nice place, had the best layout I'd seen, was a year old but hadnt been lived in, and the 3/4 acre it was on backed up to pasture land. The selling agent told me "thats 1000 acres thats been in the family for generations, and the owner has turned down many great offers. They'll never sell. You'll have that rolling pasture for a backyard for life. I'm sure of it". Dumb thing for her to say from a legal perspective.

For the couple of folks who live in the Folsom area, that swath of pasture that'll never be sold is now Empire Ranch...
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-07-2005, 12:16 PM   #19
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Re: Retirement Land

At least it's not Neverland Ranch........

Which, BTW, could be for sale soon!!
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Re: Retirement Land
Old 06-07-2005, 12:55 PM   #20
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Re: Retirement Land

Ouch th....* *I live right across from Empire Ranch and as you probably know, that is where the largest houses in this town are now.* The ones that have gone up almost 50% in value in the past year or two.* *
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