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looking for advice on buying land

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Grunwald, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Grunwald

    Grunwald Out of that nut job colony of Seattle, WA Well-Known Member

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    I am looking to buy some land and am wondering what type to get.
    My current various choices are:
    About 20 acres in the.Cascades (1.5 hr from my house)
    About 10 wooded acres with a stream south of Olympia (1.5hr away)
    About 160 acres of farmable land in Eastern WA (3.5 hr away).

    Any of these can have a well for water and I'm sure all could support a garden big enough for a family.
    All the drive times are from my house in Seattle and in light traffic.
    I am thinking of buying this land as a buffer against inflation mostly, with a secondary use being recreational and third as a refuge in case of shtf.

    The big chnk of land is the furthest away and not very useful for recreation unless I get into ATV or dirt biking and or snowmobiling. There is nothing but grass and some sage bushes on it. On the plus side it is the only piece that could actually produce income (farming).

    The other two are big enough to be private and great spots to setup a getaway cabin.

    Any thoughts are welcome
     
  2. M67

    M67 NW Oregon Active Member

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    Water sources would be a priority for me and a year round spring would be an added bonus. Creeks are fine, but the water could be contaminated in such a manor that it may need to be filtered to remove chemicals.
    Wells are expensive to drill and hand pumps don't work if the well is over 100' in depth.

    Location is another factor. To me it is necessary to have neighbors close enough to watchout for each other, but not so close as to be a bother.
    Unless you have a small army, you will need good neighbors, if the poo ever hits the fan.

    It does not take much room for a garden (1/4 to 1/2 acre) and you will grow way more than you could use, as long as the garden area has good soil, southern exposure and plenty of water.

    Unless you have very deep pockets, farming on a larger scale would not be practical. Equipment costs a lot of money, check on the price of trucks, tractors, tillers, mowers, cutters and irrigation equipment, etc...

    Best of luck!

    M67
     
  3. ATCclears

    ATCclears Seattle area, WA Well-Known Member

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    Charter an aircraft, and have the pilot fly over the vicinity of each piece of land. Then you can REALLY see what is going on around each site.

    Tell the charter company you want a high-wing and inexpensive aircraft such as a Cessna 172 for the flight. This will keep the cost down and the high wing won't obstruct the view. Tell the pilot you want him to get into a slow-flight configuration such that you can take some pictures and makes some notes while he circles/orbits each site. Take or borrow a DLSR with a zoom lens and put the camera in "speed" mode so that it favors shutter speed over aperture.

    If possible, ascertain the GPS coordinates of the land before the flight so you can give them to the pilot and know you're looking at the right piece of land. If possible, ascertain the upstream path of the stream so you can follow it. It would be good to know what is upstream of your potential investment.

    It might cost you $300 to do an airborne review of the land near Olympia but it will be money well spent.

    Peter
     
  4. speedtriple

    speedtriple Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    Or... Look at Google Earth!
     
    Redbad, jbett98, Sun195 and 3 others like this.
  5. mortar maggot

    mortar maggot western wa Active Member

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    Any of the property can have a well?
    But is there drinkable water and how deep?
    As mentioned wells are exspensive, and so is the pump and wiring to ge the water out of the ground.

    If you borrow money to buy the land you usually have to have proof of water, sometimes this means an actual well and sometimes just a letter from a well company saying that water is there will work.

    Does the land perc for a septic system?
    If so what kind of septic? Sand mound cost lots of $$$

    Depending on where "South of Olympia" you have perc issues, and flooding issues, so be careful on what you buy.

    When we bought our land we had it contingent upon perc test and drinkable water, we have a little bit of iron, but not too bad.

    Do you plan on building a cabin to visit and get away for the weekend or, a house to live in?
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    When it comes to this kind of stuff GIS is your friend... however there is much more to it than that.

    The stuff I have been looking into before buying property (I'm also in the market for a house in snohomish county), and the stuff I always watch out for:

    Look for active bonds on the title - some places when they do infrastructure improvements such as water or sewer will pass a "bond" on affected properties, usually, this bond has to be paid before you can get any of the benefits of the infrastructure.

    Easements on the property - does the local power company have rights to pass through your property to service a hydro-line or a substation nearby? Is there a major natural gas line, or water main going through your property?

    Soil type and hazards - How thick is the top soil? What is the sub-soil made of? is it thousands of feet of sand before bedrock, or are you at a bedrock/sedimentary boundary (has a great effect on how earthquakes will treat you)

    Local topography - this can usually tell you whether you need to worry about floods, it may also affect decisions as to how you would respond to a wild fire or other event.

    You should also check local regulations on business, taxes, zoning etc. Some places will have certain requirements for building on your property, they may also impose taxes on any improvements you make to the property. On places that have surface and subsurface water, they may place limitations on how you may use your property near the water feature. I know a lot of people in king county who have to keep the area near the stream as "natural" as possible some distance away from the stream, this means no cutting vegetation, landscaping, flood control etc. I've heard some horror stories about people having to essentially surrender parts of their house or decks to overgrowing ivy, blackberry etc.

    Also, on properties that have water running through them, it's worth checking to see if the water becomes an easement.
     
    nwwoodsman and (deleted member) like this.
  7. ATCclears

    ATCclears Seattle area, WA Well-Known Member

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    I hear what you're saying but I respectively disagree. The images on Google Earth are typically dated by as much as a year, and you can always see more "in real time".

    I don't view spending time and say $400 as a poor decision if one is going to plunk down over $100K on wooded property.

    Peter
     
  8. Decker

    Decker My house Active Member

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    Use Bing. You can rotate the angle and see all 4 points
     
  9. Thebastidge

    Thebastidge 10411 NE Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98662 Well-Known Member

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    Purchasing point: banks typically won't finance over 20 acres as a residential loan. You either have to get a business loan (higher standrds, higher down payment, requires a rock solid biz plan) or get the owner to finance the loan. If the owner is financially distressed and needs to sell the property cheap, they may not be willing to finance the loan, since it essentially means they are collecting your principle plus interest monthly and they have to wait 30 years for the loan to be paid off. If they are not finanically distressed, you won't get as ogood a deal.
     
  10. btownemail

    btownemail Bremerton, WA New Member

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    Purchased 25 acres a couple years back, and going for the adjacent 25 more this year. Best decision of my life. Alrady built an offgrid cabin there. Plenty of wildlife and fertile soil out there. The best part is that it's less than 30 mins away from my house in Bremerton! The only advice I have for you is research, research and more research. My wife and I had been looking for land for about 8 years before we stumbled upon this gem. I'll be paying for it for the next 30 years, but it's money well spent!
     
  11. Grunwald

    Grunwald Out of that nut job colony of Seattle, WA Well-Known Member

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    Looks like I have to put this on hold, at least for a little while, due to my job situation.

    I'm still thankfull for for all the advice as it will be as good tomorrow as it is today. Sooner or later I will be back to looking for another piece.
     
  12. MissJ

    MissJ Clackamas County Active Member

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    We have 3 acres on the outskirts of Portland and I can tell you that with a mini orchard (30+ fruit trees) berry and grape vines, more than a dozen chickens at a time and a nice sized garden that produces much more than I can use before it spoils WE STILL ONLY USE HALF OF OUR PROPERTY!!!

    now, keep in mind I work full time, but my husband works from home..spends probably 30-50 hours a week on his business depending on workload.

    My point being that unless you plan to turn farming into your primary occupation, then having more than a couple of acres is just "nice to have" but not really necessary...
     
  13. Thebastidge

    Thebastidge 10411 NE Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98662 Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, if you have a horse or cow, it takes a minimum of an acre of grass or you have to supplement feed. And then you probably need to do it in the winter as well. So if you want to raise your own meat, that takes more space.
     
  14. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    Water, water water.

    You can grow stuff on damn near anything in the NW. The trick is sunlight and water. WATER being the biggest deal. Even on the wet side, they have droughts. What are you planning on DRINKING? It's trivial to make up 6 months of food. It's the WATER that is the nastiest issue here in the west.

    Even if you can get a permiyt for a well that's drilled and never used, if TSHTF, you have a well. Make sure it's pumped by wind or solar. EVERYTHING else is dependent on a good water source.
     
  15. Cortes

    Cortes Tualatin Active Member

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    Water ^^ is critical. If you are really interested in farming, soil is very important too. So many think they can get some packets of garden seeds and they will have food real soon. It doesn't work that way. My dad bought and sold a lot of land that he farmed. We would always take a shovel out there and turn over the dirt.

    Bottom land near a river is usually good. Other places the soil has to be developed over many years time with composting, paying close attention to soil condition and nutrients.