Author Topic: HELP - Need Sherpa Guidance on How to Begin Researching Property  (Read 598 times)

Offline suntzzu

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Good day everyone. I hope all of you and your families are staying safe and healthy!

My Fiance (just got engaged 3 days ago!) and I are in the market to purchase some land for our building our hopefully final/retirement home. This is not a bug out location or a secondary property. I currently live in my house which i am about to put on the market. My finace has a house that I would live in while we began work on the new/final property. We would then either rent her house out or sell it. We are fortunate that both our properties reside in towns/school districts that they don't last long on the market. We've found a piece of 5 acre property that is a potential good fit for us. It is in the school district we need it (we are the Brady bunch...3 Girls, and 3 Boys from the age range of 7yrs old to 16yrs old). We're from the area for over 40yrs, so we have actual years of expertise in the surrounding areas and are familiar with crime rate, flood planes, schools, natural and man made disasters etc...). The only neighbors are to the south of the property which is also sits on a 5acre lot.

The 5acre lot is right outside of town, a few miles from a major interstate (so I'm not to worried about the masses evacuating from the major city thats about 60min drive with no rush hour traffic), and is pretty much a level prairie field surrounded by corn fields...unfortunately, we are stuck in the boring midwest when it comes to environmental visuals. The lot is the perfect size for what we would like to accomplish for our final home.

I would love to hear the communities feedback on some of the below. Also, what I am struggling the most is, how to go about researching the property to determine if it will meet our needs. Meaning, well according to plot surveys etc. the water table is always high so bye bye basement. Looking for advice from others on how they began their adventure researching properties and then finalizing that selection. I plan on creating a list of requirements and prioritizing them.

Some of the requirements (feedback/opinions welcomed!):

1. Obviously a house, but would have a basement. We would also like to possibly put a storage/panic room under the garage. This would be where most of our preparedness supplies and stockpiles go. The panic room is not so much for intruders but for tornadoes. We had two criss cross through our town in less than 2yrs apart.
 
2. Pole barn on the property. We actually considered purchasing the land, and putting up a nice barn with some living quarters in it. This would allow us to move onto the property and sell her house. Then finally build the house at our own pace.

3. I would like to put a small firearms range on the property. Nothing crazy...It would be roughly say 50-75yds long and doesn't need to be wide. I would have a berm built for safety.

4. A Garden!!! Where I've lived in the past we have only been able to do raised beds or pots for the veggie garden.

5. Chicken coop. Finace and kids want chickens lol.

6. Utilities wise, we would need to put a well and septic in (which i would almost prefer), it actually has natural gas service to the property. This in my opinion is good. I currently have a full house natural gas generator at my house so we would have one as well at the new establishment. If it didn't have natural gas ran to the property i would more than likely look into other alternatives for backup power. For example, solar and/or a secondary LP tank specifically for the generator. Solar actually may become an option to supplement anyways when it comes time to build the house.

7. High-speed internet. This right here is one of my biggest concerns. I don't believe any of the major providers have service to the property. I work from home a lot, and with 6 kids well......with remote learning now because of COVID-19, gaming, streaming internet is a necessity. The major wireless carriers have good coverage, and there is also a local company that provides a wireless service for the area with the antennas on the water tower about 3miles away. There are no trees on the property so line-of-sight obstruction wouldn't be a concern. Also, by the time we actually get moved into a structure on the property the Starlink satellite service will probably be up and operational.

I can't thank this community enough! I've listened to Jack all the way back when he would do the podcast from his car. Loved hearing his rants at some moron driver lol. A lot of my preparations have originated from Jack, the podcast, and community members. I wouldn't have been as prepared for this pandemic if it wasn't for all of you. Me and my loved ones are so far safe and healthy, and haven't had to really stress out about the virus and that is due to being prepared.  What also makes me feel good is, one of my friends and his family saw the light back at the end of January. He always knew i was into preparedness so he reached out and said "how to i get ready for this possible pandemic?" Since then him and his family have made huge improvements to be prepared in all aspects of their lives. I told him, just like Jack stated, a SHTF scenario could be you just losing your job. If that were to happen, at least you have food on the table. What's also great is him and I txt back and forth all day long, so we've gotten much closer. He lives in TX so digital communication is the most efficient way.

Stay safe everyone!




Offline creuzerm

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Re: HELP - Need Sherpa Guidance on How to Begin Researching Property
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2020, 12:28:49 PM »
The hardest one to research currently is the internet. Usually, It's asking the realtor to talk to the current owners about current internet speeds. You can also call the provider and ask - but make sure there is CURRENT internet on the property. My last place I called AT&T for DSL and was TOLD yes, but when the installers came out after I bought the place, I was 1000 feet too far away and they couldn't get enough signal to my modem. The installer's test equipment reads everything OK, and says it's solid. But No Data For Me!

Stop and talk to the houses on either side and ask about the internet. Should give you an idea of what to expect day 1. Also ask about their well depths. Are they at 25 feet or 225 feet or 625 feet. The first is no basement, the second is just an expensive well, the third is a REALLY expensive well. Maybe ask for a glass of water and get it tested?

I just bought a place in Kentucky a year ago - gigabit fiber. That was my primary Buying YES, the Garage having ten foot doors was my 2nd yes (it fits my mid-roof 15 passenger van). Everything else is negotiable with time and money (assuming the department-of-making-you-sad isn't in the area). We are planning on doing a 50% addition because a family of 8 in 1100 square feet is a bit... snug. But that's addressable fairly easily, and the low cost of the property and the high assessed value makes it REALLY easy to get that home improvement loan.

SpaceX's Starlink Internet is coming as you ponted out... but we don't know what pricing will be and how soon you or I will be able to get it.



acrevalue.com will show you soil types and a 'growing score' which you can judge the soil suitability to your garden. My place rates pretty low, in the teens generally, but I do have a couple of spots in the 40s.

You can put in contingencies into the offer such as a successful perk test for the well, etc. I did a water test on the well for my place before I signed the offer. Had the realtor meet me at the place and they watched me take notes for half an hour as I ran 3 different water test kits against the well.

Congrats on the engagement!

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: HELP - Need Sherpa Guidance on How to Begin Researching Property
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2020, 08:52:18 AM »
If the water table is high I would double check and make sure that there are not any wet land usage restrictions on it.  This is a big deal in the state I am in because you can't build anything within 250 ft of anything the government has labeled wetlands.  I used my state's fish and game maps to easily determine if the properties I was looking at had any wetlands designations.   We were looking at properties with only 2 to 3 acres so avoiding wetlands was important. 

Check the local town and county zoning and permit requirements. Don't assume   a rural or agricultural zoning means you won't have to get a permit for every little thing.  Here in the north east everything varies town by town and digging through the town websites saved us a world of hassle by crossing entire towns off the list.  We found a place where we didn't need to get a permit or zoning variance for every little thing, no dead restrictions, and no HOA.   

Make the sale contingent on being able to put a septic in.   People get snagged all the time with buying land and not being able to put a septic system in.  Get the water tested too if you can.  Our water is pretty bad because our well goes through 125 feet of granite so we have a whole house filtration system that is great but expensive.

Look at flood history of the site.  Go back 200 or more years if you can.  Even if the government doesn't list it as a flood zone check and see if there are any old records for the area.  I have family that bought outside the "flood zone" in Ohio and wound up flooding twice in the last 20 years.  I have been in a house that flooded as a child it sucked. 

Soil testing is a good idea. It will give you a good starting point on building your homestead. Have them also do a heavy metal test just in case the place was an orchard 100 years ago.  Lead arsenate was used for over a century in orchards and can persist in the soil.  I used Logan Labs in Ohio for soil testing.

Talk to the surrounding farmers.  What are their spraying practices and schedule.  Drift of these chemicals is an issue if they are using pesticides and herbicides.  You many need to design a buffer between your gardens, chickens, and children's play areas. 




Offline suntzzu

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Re: HELP - Need Sherpa Guidance on How to Begin Researching Property
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2020, 08:24:03 PM »
Wow! Thank you both for responding. I wouldn't have thought to check some of this stuff prior to purchasing. TSP community is amazing!