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Anyone have tips for a first time land buyer?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Joe Link, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Joe Link

    Joe Link Portland, OR Well-Known Member Staff Member Lifetime Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'm considering looking for some remote acreage in either Oregon or Washington, but I don't know the first thing about it. I'd love to find somewhere close to fishing, hunting, and general honing of outdoor skills which I could put a small cabin on. If worst came to worst, make for decent sustainable living. This would be my first property purchase. What sort of terms are common with land purchases? Are most short term, owner contract type of deals? Are there longer term financing options? I'd like to keep the payment under $200 per month.
     
  2. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The key ingredient is water. Is it available year round, winter only or dry as a bone year round.
    Digging a well for water is expensive.
     
  3. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    Best to look for something in the coastal range with a spring. Adequate water for a garden and livestock is a must!
     
  4. mccullogh

    mccullogh NW Oregon Member

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    Back in the 90's banks would not lone on bare ground and considering the financial state of banks I am sure that is still true. It might be possible to find a small private bank that doesn't want to sell the note but I think that is unlikely. So that leaves an owner contract or maybe you could borrow from a 401K for enough cash. Water is really important for obvious reasons but it has presented a lot government regulations and possible loss of rights for owners. There is also the issue of building permits and zoning depending on where you are looking. If you can find a place with a structure on it that should be much easier to fix than building new. If you know a couple of counties you think look good I am sure some folks familiar with the area could chime in. I have not used a lawyer in the past but I think it would be cheap insurance in today's climate.

    Good Luck Sir
     
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  5. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Things I've thought about when looking for property:

    Does it have water? How much would it cost to dig a well?
    Does the soil perc? Can you put in a septic?
    Does someone else own the water, mineral or timber rights?
    Does it have year-round access? Who maintains the roads to it?
    Does someone else have an easement across the property?
    Where's the closest power?
    What's cel/phone/internet access like? (if that matters to you)
    Is it in a flood plain?
    What kind of land clearing would you need to do to put a house in? Would you need to bring in rock/fill? What about building a road?
    Does it have steep/unstable slopes?
    What are the neighbors like? Is there someone to keep an eye on it while you're gone? Are the neighbors PITA who don't really want you to be there?
    Are there any zoning or other restrictions on it? Environmental restrictions? Setback requirements from anything? Like wetlands or fish-bearing streams/rivers?
    What kind of amenities does the nearest town have? Where's the nearest grocery, hardware or pharmacy? How's the hospital? (an important consideration if you ever get really hurt)
    What's the local government like? Is the property within a reservation? How does that work if you aren't a tribal member?
    Are there covenants or other deed restrictions on what you can do with the land?

    If you're going to be completely disconnected from society, a lot of this may not matter to you (in theory). But, having owned family cabins and known friends who live in rural areas, this kind of stuff matters on a day-to-day basis if you ever want to spend time out there.

    In terms of financing, I haven't found a bank that'll do a loan on raw land. It's almost easier to find a piece of property that has a house already on it - then you may have a shot at conventional financing. I don't know much about contract-of-sale purchases. If I ever did one of those, I'd lawyer-up to make sure everything was done right.
     
  6. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My family was vacationing in Central Oregon during the summer of 1971.
    We passed an old rancher nailing up a sign advertising small lot acreage for sale.
    My dad turned around and asked the rancher some questions and then followed him up a gravel road.
    He was selling 5 acre plots that had a beautiful view of Black Butte mountain.
    The plot was split 1/2 scrub brush and the other 1/2 of the 5 acres was wooded with a terrific view of the mountain.
    Water and electricity was going to be brought in to the corner of the property within a year as development progressed.
    My dad had the first pick and we found a perfect location to build a future cabin. The lots were only $5,000.00 and the rancher would take payments.
    I watched my dad make a handshake agreement and hand over $50.00 as a down payment.
    Five years later, a guy offered to buy the land for $10.000.00 and since the cabin was never built and my parents had lost interest in the long drive over there, it was sold.
    I have kept tabs on what that 5 acres of land is worth today, and it recently sold for over $675.000.00.
    There is a rather nice cabin on it, but I can still recall my dad remarking on how he doubled his money in only five years.
    The lesson here is, if you can swing it, grab a bit of land and hold on to it.
     
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  7. jluck

    jluck Really,Really, Close to Newport Oregon 97365 Voted #1 Member

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    The buying factor for the last two western oregon properties I bought was not just water but gravity fed spring water. Got a wood stove and gravity water your GTG.
     
  8. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    I would also want a defensible area of high ground... Just in case!
     
  9. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Sun195 Covered many of the important basics.

    However as far as the legal aspects, I don't know about OR, but in WA the real-estate laws are kinda've a pain in the butt... Generally in order to transfer tangible real property (real-estate) you need an agent, now that agent is not bound by law to have your best interests at heart, but can charge whatever they think they can get away with. Generally the solution to this is to go through someone who is strictly a transfer agent, there are many lawyers out there who perform this service for a flat fee (typically it's around $4000), if you see a property that's advertised that you want to look at, you call your agent and give him the details and he will set up the meeting/tour for you. Otherwise real-estate agents can claim they represent you. It's kinda goofy.

    As has been stated, funding for raw land can be difficult unless you have a sizable down, and even then it's really hard to get conventional funding. There are other options, in which you could look at the land as a business expense for a farm or ranch. You can also sub-lease your land out to a local farmer or rancher.

    The method I've chosen in the past for acquiring rural land is first choose an approximate location you want to be near, next the county assessor usually conducts tax sales periodically (sometimes 2-3 times per year) for properties that have gone delinquent on their taxes, the list is usually published a few weeks in advance which means you need to grab that list, determine where those properties are, find out if there are any liens or bonds on the property, and if it's somewhere you might like to live. I highly recommend going out to the property to establish this ahead of time. And then bid on it. Over the last 15 years I've done this more than a few times in california. I would buy properties out in the desert, usually 5 ac lots, some of them I've sold, I still hold on to a few. One of the big issues I had with one property, I didn't do my homework and I found that despite the fact that I got the property for $500, there was a $10K water bond on the property. I ended up giving it back to the county rather than pay this bond.

    You might want to call the county assessor and see what the terms and conditions are for buying property through the auctions. As an obvious FYI, properties that go for low values usually have a reason, usually it's either a bond issue, or it's simply difficult to get to. I know in the next few months, I'm going to be plowing a road out to some property my dad just bought where he wants to build his retirement cabin, he didn't visit it ahead of time, and wasn't able to get to it the first time we went out there, I was only able to get there on foot (dad is well beyond his hiking years).
     
  10. Glockman19

    Glockman19 Hillsboro Active Member

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    Looking at buying a house now and thought about trying to buy land and put a house on it. I was told by the lender I am working with that 15 year loan and 20% down is what they do. Probably varies by lenders but probably can at least finance something with decent credit and searching for the right loan for your situation. :thumbup:
     
  11. rocky3

    rocky3 oregon coast Active Member

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    $200.00 per month? Surely you jest. So eat beans and rice for about 20 years, read Dave Ramsey and maybe you can afford 1 acre.
    in 20 years. Think a monthly payment of $1,200.00.
     
  12. Puddin99

    Puddin99 Scappoose, OR Member

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    Have the property line surveyed before buying. It takes the guess work out of it later should there be a dispute.
     
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  13. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    A big :thumbup: for Dave Ramsey!
     
  14. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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  15. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    One of my favorite movies is "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House", with Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas.
    It's a classic comedy that shows what happens when city folk buy an old country farm and try to build a new house.
    I would hand a copy to my clients before I started a large remodel on their home.
     
  16. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    you're looking at about a $50,000 property with 20 percent down @ 5 percent interest.
     
  17. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    What are you buying where a single rural acre is worth over a quarter million dollars? Does it have oil 5 feet under the surface, and evian spring water 20 feet below that? with sand grains made of diamonds? The house has hot and cold running blow jobs? If he's judicious he might be able to buy an acre each month on that his stated budget.

    This is about what I've found for conventional loans... I was looking at a place for $100k, with a 25% down we were looking at about $450/mo on a 15 year.
     
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  18. RW-Ore

    RW-Ore Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Don't let them beat you down Joe . If you really want property you will find a way I did . It isn't much but it's mine and you have to start somewhere 25 acres out off George Millican hwy no water but lots of old growth juniper it's my hide and that is what I was looking for . 25 acres of "MINE" every lava rock and hand full of sand/dirt is mine , it's a great feeling. Get you some.
     
  19. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If it was me, I would research the part of the country that I wanted to invest in, and then I would drive there and and start talking to folks that live in the area.
    Stop and talk to the mailman, the fire station, folks in the Ma & Pa stores, county clerks, farm store, etc.
    Have some business cards on hand and tell them that you want to be part of the community, not a speculator looking for a quick buck.
    All it takes is the right person to steer you into a good deal.
     
  20. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Beaverton, OR Chief Cook/Bottle Washer

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    A lot depends on how far out you want to be. The further out from "civilization" and the cheaper it gets. And with the cheaper cost of land, the difficulty in reaching or getting to he property rises inversely (gets harder to get there). Plus factor in the normal issues of life - parts for your equipment (if you don't have some stored already) and the time to travel to get replacement parts or equipment to just get started.

    Just some more random thoughts.