Buying undeveloped land advice needed (1 Viewer)

marmar

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Not sure which forum to post at, but
I'm looking to buy a cheap undeveloped piece of land for building an off grid cabin to live in. and if we have here anyone with experience of doing it, please share some tips? Where I'm looking, upstate ny, any undeveloped properties are all woods, so I'm trying to think realistically, how hard would it be to do some clearing at the beginning? Even for a parking space. Then what else you usually start with after you got the land?
Any advice on the buying process?
 
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Deleted member 125

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the "cheap" part of it may only be the land itself. most if not all underdeveloped land is not connected to utilities, water, or even roads, so depending on how much you can actually do yerself would really change the price alot. how hard would it be? i guess it depends on exactly where the property you had bought is, how many trees/stumps/rocks etc would need to be cleared to make it accessible for a car and a parking space. what kinda cabin are we talking here like 4 walls and a roof henry thoreau kinda cabin or a more modern cabin with running water and electricity etc etc? either way if you want it to be technically legal theres quite a few hoops to jump through as far as zoning and what not is concerned, if you wanted to do it off the books i suppose you could just not tell anyone you were living there and risk whatever city fine when somebody eventually wanders down yer road and finds a house that someones living there who shouldnt be.

http://www.ubuildit.com/ten-things-to-think-about-when-buying-land/

i guess ide say step 1 is talk to the local zoning board and ask a few questions about available plots and see if any of them are habitable since some underdeveloped land is underdeveloped for a reason, like being 5 meters away from a landfill...
 

marmar

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the "cheap" part of it may only be the land itself. most if not all underdeveloped land is not connected to utilities, water, or even roads, so depending on how much you can actually do yerself would really change the price alot. how hard would it be? i guess it depends on exactly where the property you had bought is, how many trees/stumps/rocks etc would need to be cleared to make it accessible for a car and a parking space. what kinda cabin are we talking here like 4 walls and a roof henry thoreau kinda cabin or a more modern cabin with running water and electricity etc etc? either way if you want it to be technically legal theres quite a few hoops to jump through as far as zoning and what not is concerned, if you wanted to do it off the books i suppose you could just not tell anyone you were living there and risk whatever city fine when somebody eventually wanders down yer road and finds a house that someones living there who shouldnt be.

http://www.ubuildit.com/ten-things-to-think-about-when-buying-land/

i guess ide say step 1 is
talk to the local zoning board and ask a few questions about available plots and see if any of them are habitable since some underdeveloped land is underdeveloped for a reason, like being 5 meters away from a landfill...


thanks. for the link too,will read all that.
I know undeveloped land doesn't have utilities. My first concern is clearing of woods, because the places Im looking at all are wooded mountain settings.
How hard is it to do the clearing for one-two people?
About the cabin, is I guess that will be a tiny house kinda thing, Im not thinking on connecting to the grid, just collect rain water and solar, eventually a well.
So I guess I'll read about the zoning, because I don't know anything about it. What does it have to say in order for it to be legal?
Also, how did you find your land? online, via real estate agent etc.?
 
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clearing the woods i guess would depend on what kinda equipment you have. if its just you and one other person with hand saws ide say it would take a long time. but it would all depend on what kinda trees youd have to clear, are they little ones that could be taken away in a pick up truck or huge bastards with trunks the size of a small car. if yer talking wooded mountains thats another thing to deal with, cutting down trees on a hillside/mountainside or even a decent slope is a hell of alot more complicated then on flat land, depending on the situation you may be better off hiring someone to do that. and i have no idea what that costs but ide assume its not cheap. thats hard dangerous work that may require some big expensive construction tools. first hand ive helped a friend clear his property that had a shit ton of dead/dying/fallen trees over about 10 acres of land, luckily he had access to a free bobcat and chainsaws for us to use. it took about 2 weeks. now im sure we could of got it done faster but like i said that shit is pretty back breaking and it was summer and we wernt in any hurry anyway. but these trees were mostly all fallen already and more of a in the way kinda thing, i can only imagine its much more work to actually cut down the trees yerself. do you have any big burly folks who owe you a favor? if you do ide call that shit in for this project, the more help you have the faster itll go either way.

if yer relying on solar and rain water without any back ups ide say yer gonna not have power or water very regularly. ide say digging a well would be one of the first things ide get done, which would mean the land would have to be some place that a well could be dug. as far as zoning goes i have no idea but ide assume it varies from place to place depending on all kinds of what nots.

i dont own land, so i have no real first hand experience when it comes to actually buying it. ide say in person via a real estate agent or even possibly a city clerk to point you in the right direction would be yer best bet. keep in mind if you hire a real estate agent that means ya know...you gotta pay them, so you might wanna just go through the city to save money.
 

marmar

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Yeah I figured cutting down trees is not gonna be an easy task. Well, I d have to find some helping hands for sure. Guess when I find the land I 'll post a callout in here ☺ so far it's just me. Chainsaw I could rent, say. But after I buy the land there will be no money left to pay anyone for anything, so. Will be figuring shit out, as always have, I'm very diy oriented haha
About the buying process thou, I've been looking around for the past year, saw a couple properties but they were not good. When you see a for sale sign it always has an agent number, so idk how lucky you gotta be to actually find and get in contact with an owner, if you don't know them personally already. Even in that case, you still have to hire a lawyer to do the papers. So a thousand or so out of the budget should definitely be saved for the closing fees. There is no way to avoid them I don't think.
 
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Deleted member 125

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yea no i doubt youd be able to avoid closing fees plus any other fees associated with buying the property. theres for sure a ton of little shit that youd have to look into and i hope someone besides myself here can stear you in the right direction more. goodluck though and keep us updated if you end up finding something!
 
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Kim Chee

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Are you set on upstate NY or are you open to other places?

There's inexpensive (for now) land in Puna, Hawaii.

Might not be as cheap as what you're looking at though.

It rains tons and you can grow stuff year round.
 
A

AnOldHope

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New York is probably very different than where I am in Arizona. I was able to get 2 acres for $1,200, of which $200 was various documentation and closing fees. I received a title from the county. My area is zoned residential/agricultural, so I can live on it in an RV.

One piece of land I looked at wanted $700 for title insurance on 2.36 acres of land selling for $600. So they wanted more for the title insurance (which pays you for the value of the purchase if there is a problem with the title that interferes with your ownership of the property, meaning they wanted $700 in title insurance to protect a $600 asset). However, in other cases title insurance can be worth it, just consider the cost of it with the value of the land title it insures (I'm guessing land in upstate New York is a lot higher than in Arizona, so title insurance might make sense there).

I found the clearing difficulty depends on what you want to build. I have to keep my structures under 120 sq feet so they don't need permits. I don't have trees to deal with like you do, where I am the main issues is leveling an area to build on and planning for flash flooding. The challenges are likely different where you are.

For power, I've lived out here with as little as 60 watts feeding a 15 amp hour battery, but now I have 800 watts feeding a pair of 125 amp hour solar deep cycle batteries. It keeps my net connection up, laptop and phone charged, and depending on time of year about 8 hours of x-box and tv. This summer I'll be adding 1080 Watts into a 100 amp hour battery that will feed a small 115v/5amp air conditioner, but that luxury will be about $3,000 with inverter, cabling, etc.

A 1.7 liter AC/DC non-compressor fridge will draw about an amp. I use hauled water, a decent 250 gallon container is about $125. My plan is for rain catcher by next winter, but I will have to put up several to be self-sustaining and my water usage is quite Spartan.

What I learned is that you have to be able to live on the land from day one if you're going to stay there and develop it yourself. My solution to that was an ultra-cheap RV, solar power and hauled water. I recently fenced off about a quarter of my property, and will be putting in a chicken coop this Spring.

So far, the cops haven't had a problem with me being out here, they've been by twice (separated by several months) and their main interest seemed to be making sure I wasn't going to hurt myself and I wasn't pulling a Walter White. After they satisfied that curiosity, we mostly just chatted about 12-18V tech for a while.

I hope for great success for you. Watching the land change, little by little, into your vision is something worth developing patience for. May the spirit of the land somewhere call to you, and may you find home.
 

marmar

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New York is probably very different than where I am in Arizona. I was able to get 2 acres for $1,200, of which $200 was various documentation and closing fees. I received a title from the county. My area is zoned residential/agricultural, so I can live on it in an RV.

One piece of land I looked at wanted $700 for title insurance on 2.36 acres of land selling for $600. So they wanted more for the title insurance (which pays you for the value of the purchase if there is a problem with the title that interferes with your ownership of the property, meaning they wanted $700 in title insurance to protect a $600 asset). However, in other cases title insurance can be worth it, just consider the cost of it with the value of the land title it insures (I'm guessing land in upstate New York is a lot higher than in Arizona, so title insurance might make sense there).

I found the clearing difficulty depends on what you want to build. I have to keep my structures under 120 sq feet so they don't need permits. I don't have trees to deal with like you do, where I am the main issues is leveling an area to build on and planning for flash flooding. The challenges are likely different where you are.

For power, I've lived out here with as little as 60 watts feeding a 15 amp hour battery, but now I have 800 watts feeding a pair of 125 amp hour solar deep cycle batteries. It keeps my net connection up, laptop and phone charged, and depending on time of year about 8 hours of x-box and tv. This summer I'll be adding 1080 Watts into a 100 amp hour battery that will feed a small 115v/5amp air conditioner, but that luxury will be about $3,000 with inverter, cabling, etc.

A 1.7 liter AC/DC non-compressor fridge will draw about an amp. I use hauled water, a decent 250 gallon container is about $125. My plan is for rain catcher by next winter, but I will have to put up several to be self-sustaining and my water usage is quite Spartan.

What I learned is that you have to be able to live on the land from day one if you're going to stay there and develop it yourself. My solution to that was an ultra-cheap RV, solar power and hauled water. I recently fenced off about a quarter of my property, and will be putting in a chicken coop this Spring.

So far, the cops haven't had a problem with me being out here, they've been by twice (separated by several months) and their main interest seemed to be making sure I wasn't going to hurt myself and I wasn't pulling a Walter White. After they satisfied that curiosity, we mostly just chatted about 12-18V tech for a while.

I hope for great success for you. Watching the land change, little by little, into your vision is something worth developing patience for. May the spirit of the land somewhere call to you, and may you find home.

Thank you so much for sharing, and well wishes!
Yea the land is being calling, everything is in place and I can finally but it
, I just am having hard time finding what I want. But I'm sure it's somewhere there sitting waiting for me. I live in a camper already, I just need my piece of land to park it at. Then im excited about building my own house with my own hands.A basic wood stove heated shack to begin with..

I don't understand this thing, if your land is zoned so you can camp and live there, why fear the cops at all? Also, it's your property, which they can't enter without your permission, as far as I heard?
 
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marmar

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Are you set on upstate NY or are you open to other places?

There's inexpensive (for now) land in Puna, Hawaii.

Might not be as cheap as what you're looking at though.

It rains tons and you can grow stuff year round.
Yea I wish. I have some legal responsibilities here so I'm kinda tied to the state.
 
A

AnOldHope

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Thank you so much for sharing, and well wishes!
Yea the land is being calling, everything is in place and I can finally but it
, I just am having hard time finding what I want. But I'm sure it's somewhere there sitting waiting for me. I live in a camper already, I just need my piece of land to park it at. Then im excited about building my own house with my own hands.A basic wood stove heated shack to begin with..

I don't understand this thing, if your land is zoned so you can camp and live there, why fear the cops at all? Also, it's your property, which they can't enter without your permission, as far as I heard?

In a perfect world I wouldn't fear them, and in fact the ones I've met out in the desert have all been very kind and reasonable.

The problem arises from the imperfect reality that up until relatively recently, many of the people living in the desert were out here to cook meth. Those folks apparently trended towards the armed, agitated, and irrational, and unfortunately it has left a cautious patina on the landscape.

To be honest, I've been toying with the idea of having a sign printed up with the Walter White "I am the Danger" Meme, but it says "I am not the Danger, there is no meth here. Try about three miles in any random direction. Thank you."
 
A

AnOldHope

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Yea I wish. I have some legal responsibilities here so I'm kinda tied to the state.

It might also be useful on some scale. Immediately after the Collapse, what we now call upstate New York will be awash in very unprepared people. Anyone with survival knowledge who can teach independence and non-industrialized living will be like a prophet among the pants-pissing wicked.

One of the people you save may have a child one day who will do advanced work in quantum category modeling that will be critical to an important journey.

You never know.
 

marmar

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In a perfect world I wouldn't fear them, and in fact the ones I've met out in the desert have all been very kind and reasonable.

The problem arises from the imperfect reality that up until relatively recently, many of the people living in the desert were out here to cook meth. Those folks apparently trended towards the armed, agitated, and irrational, and unfortunately it has left a cautious patina on the landscape.

To be honest, I've been toying with the idea of having a sign printed up with the Walter White "I am the Danger" Meme, but it says "I am not the Danger, there is no meth here. Try about three miles in any random direction. Thank you."
Right, I forgot all about the meatheads. I guess the cops have legal reason if they suspect you in committing a crime, But they still have to get your permission to enter property or have a search warrant Im pretty sure.I'm not completely sure if it's different in different states or not.
The sign sounds like a good idea lol
 
A

AnOldHope

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Right, I forgot all about the meatheads. I guess the cops have legal reason if they suspect you in committing a crime, But they still have to get your permission to enter property or have a search warrant Im pretty sure.I'm not completely sure if it's different in different states or not.
The sign sounds like a good idea lol

I'm not a lawyer, I imagine much of search and seizure law in my situation comes down to curtilage, an aspect of jurisprudence that is often surprising to property owners. I would think it would be interpreted Federally as direct constitutional subject matter.

In any case, if they showed up and wanted to have a look around, I wouldn't have a huge problem with it. In the previous cases, they politely came up to the trailer and we talked. They made no accusations, they didn't ask to search anything.

It's a bit like the old west out here. When a new settler sets up shop, the Sheriff might come by to say hello. Pretty much everything on my land is visible from the road.

I'm beefing up my solar this month to add A/C for the summer, I should have enough spare load to power one or two cameras with audio that will upload live-time to a remote cloud server. If anything were to happen, I'd have evidence of exactly what happened and what was said.

You have a good water source on your land?
 

marmar

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It might also be useful on some scale. Immediately after the Collapse, what we now call upstate New York will be awash in very unprepared people. Anyone with survival knowledge who can teach independence and non-industrialized living will be like a prophet among the pants-pissing wicked.

One of the people you save may have a child one day who will do advanced work in quantum category modeling that will be critical to an important journey.

You never know.

Yea yea yeah! Hopefully we can witness in our lifetime Manhattan being washed off the earth by big ocean wave. The overpopulated poluded concrete jungle land needs some cleaning. Survival skills and of the land living are very essential I certainly believe that as well
 

marmar

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You have a good water source on your land
I haven't found the land yet. But I am planning on the well in a few years. As of buying it, it's cheaper with no water of course. Im thinking rain water will be good as a start. May be not for drinking. But there no properties around here where you have to go to the nearest town for miles. It's very populated state. I could drive to refill water jugs at a Lowes or whatever.
 

DuHastMich

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Hey there Marmar, I'm kinda stoked to see how your journey goes from begging to end. Buying land can definitely be rewarding, especially if you're lucky enough to grab something up that's both fertile and aesthetically pleasing.

I would like to give pointers based on my experience with buying rural land. I grabbed a rather killer deal (which I'll be unveiling soon enough) on two parcels, both which have a building of some sort and a 400' internet tower which I strong armed the internet company who owns it into signing a 10-year lease to keep using it on my property. That money paid for my remodel and well water revamp.

  • No matter where you bought property, well digging is a motherfucker on costs. Depending how zoned, a certain depth (20' being shallow, 40' being pretty standard) may be required. If you dig a well, you'll need the pump, a means to purify and remove iron and other metals (hydrogen sulfide is that rotten egg smell in water which can be treated over time by 'shocking' your well with good 'ol fashioned bleach.
  • You will need to have some form of wastewater removal system (I have a septic with an ancient clay based tile runoff system, thank god nobody inspects around here lol) - check with the county zoning commissioner. A composting toilet would be your best bet if you wish to save on sewage costs.
  • Rainwater catchment systems can be affordable, yet an unobtrusive location is necessary to make it worthy of your time and effort.
  • I think grants may be available to get your house outfitted with a solar panel system, including storage cell.
Are you dead set on NY? Or are you just wanting a sweet parcel to garden and park your home, and NY seems convenient?

I'll be following this thread for as long as you keep it updated!
 
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New York is probably very different than where I am in Arizona. I was able to get 2 acres for $1,200, of which $200 was various documentation and closing fees. I received a title from the county. My area is zoned residential/agricultural, so I can live on it in an RV.

One piece of land I looked at wanted $700 for title insurance on 2.36 acres of land selling for $600. So they wanted more for the title insurance (which pays you for the value of the purchase if there is a problem with the title that interferes with your ownership of the property, meaning they wanted $700 in title insurance to protect a $600 asset). However, in other cases title insurance can be worth it, just consider the cost of it with the value of the land title it insures (I'm guessing land in upstate New York is a lot higher than in Arizona, so title insurance might make sense there).

I found the clearing difficulty depends on what you want to build. I have to keep my structures under 120 sq feet so they don't need permits. I don't have trees to deal with like you do, where I am the main issues is leveling an area to build on and planning for flash flooding. The challenges are likely different where you are.

For power, I've lived out here with as little as 60 watts feeding a 15 amp hour battery, but now I have 800 watts feeding a pair of 125 amp hour solar deep cycle batteries. It keeps my net connection up, laptop and phone charged, and depending on time of year about 8 hours of x-box and tv. This summer I'll be adding 1080 Watts into a 100 amp hour battery that will feed a small 115v/5amp air conditioner, but that luxury will be about $3,000 with inverter, cabling, etc.

A 1.7 liter AC/DC non-compressor fridge will draw about an amp. I use hauled water, a decent 250 gallon container is about $125. My plan is for rain catcher by next winter, but I will have to put up several to be self-sustaining and my water usage is quite Spartan.

What I learned is that you have to be able to live on the land from day one if you're going to stay there and develop it yourself. My solution to that was an ultra-cheap RV, solar power and hauled water. I recently fenced off about a quarter of my property, and will be putting in a chicken coop this Spring.

So far, the cops haven't had a problem with me being out here, they've been by twice (separated by several months) and their main interest seemed to be making sure I wasn't going to hurt myself and I wasn't pulling a Walter White. After they satisfied that curiosity, we mostly just chatted about 12-18V tech for a while.

I hope for great success for you. Watching the land change, little by little, into your vision is something worth developing patience for. May the spirit of the land somewhere call to you, and may you find home.

Where in AZ? We are in AZ looking at buying land this month. Any county suggestions or areas?
 

DuHastMich

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@Outdoorsisfree - I've seen lots of 'for sale' signs starting right around Tucumcari, NM all the way to Winslow, AZ. Seems the property is right around the price mentioned, although of course you have a few larger companies who want to gouge your eyes out.

Bear in mind this land is best for shelter and setting up rain collection (maybe solar) only. Get a solid price, let me know - I'll want an acre off the beaten path, too.
 
A

AnOldHope

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Where in AZ? We are in AZ looking at buying land this month. Any county suggestions or areas?

I'm in Mohave County, found my land through landwatch.com.

Big issue for many of the <$2k-$4k lots in this area winds up being road access. The two main access roads for my lot are interrupted by erosion and washes, so I wind up having to take a circuitous route and even that can be hard on a truck. I drive an old beater. If I had a 4x4, I could make it across the most severe wash and cut 15 minutes off my time to the highway.

Mohave County has a lot of very inexpensive options, if you can work around the shitty roads and lack of water. I've done the math and I"ll need to put water catchers over a quarter acre and have 6,000 gallons of storage to have 100 gallons a day of water year round (may and june are almost completely dry).

The upshot is that you can get Wi-Power internet in several areas out here (fixed beam microwave dish, high speed without satellite latency, from a tower, but very ugly price wise).

I've decided to pick up a cheap trailer/5-th wheel and see if I can find someone who wants to live as a guest on the land in exchange for helping with the chickens and goats, building watcher catchers, etc. The summers are vicious out here, and not everyone likes being this far outside of town.

Good luck in your search!
 

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