I'm at a crossroads and not sure what to do. Housing in the US is insane but looking at sites like Zillow and landwatch you can still find 2-10 acre plots of land for anywhere from like $6-12k an acre. I'm not going to let perfect be the enemy of good enough, everyone would love 50 acres of beautiful land, but a couple acres of "good enough" seems like the best investment to make right now for those of us middle class folk without property but with modest savings lying around. I'd worry about building a house later and park a camper on the land for the time being. I'm looking in the southeast, in the Appalachia region of NC, SC, TN, WV, KY, AL. Anyone else considering or took a similar path?
A few things to research...
Is there water available?
Is there utilities to the property line?
If there is water from a municipal water source how much is the tap fee? I know one where the fee is $25,000+ to connect. Etc..
Same thoughts for sewer and electrical.
Do you need a well? Can you get a permit/permission for a well? How much does the well cost? How long will it take to get the well approved, dug, and producing water?
If you need a septic tank how much will that cost and how hard is it for approval?
Can you build anything on it?
Can you bring in a manufactured house or does it require stick built?
How hard is it to get the permits?
How much does the permits cost? I know one county in California that charges $40,000 for a 1,800 sqft house.
Is the lot in a flood zone? In my county, building in a flood zone requires additional permits, fees, and headaches.
Can you owner builder or do you need a contractor?
Do you have legal access to the lot? Pretty common problem in rural Nevada with lots surrounded by BLM land.
Find out your lot setback requirements and see if you can still build. For my lot, my setback is 20ft on the sides and 40ft on the front and back. In my case, this reduces some of the desirable area to build.
How much is property taxes as a blank lot? What about with a house on it?
You can ask the agent and they might be able to provide you a little information. Never trust them though. You need to contact the city/town (if it's in one), the county, and any other local government agencies that regulate land, house, or things related to that yourself and get direct answers. You can do this either before making an offer or during escrow but never wait until you already closed.
Aeroektar - curious how your thinking has evolved on this. If you just have a few acres but aren't able to build anything on it in the near future, what is the rush to buy? While there may be a boom in suburban housing (and I'm not sure if that's even going to last much longer) America isn't going to run out of land in the next few years. Also, as username mentions above there are often various restrictions on the land and for many you can't have a trailer on it indefinitely and the water use question can get complicated. Have you considered other investments like precious metals, crypto, commodity stocks? I suppose empty land will keep up with inflation but until you are able to put it to use it will have a negative carry until then.
That's awesome. What size of house would you build, do you have a stack of cash set away?Land is an excellent hedge against inflation. I just put down earnest money on an acre in Oklahoma and will fulfill a major dream of building a house in it. The damage that has been done to blue-run cities will not heal anytime soon. Getting out is no small feat but I can say I’m half way there, and I am highly motivated to live in a sane place place where a man and his wife can live in peace. Plus I’d only be one hour away from a lovely small Orthodox parish.
Theres definitely a cooling trend at the entry level. I think that market has peaked in terms of relative valuations. Ithink we’re likely still a good 18 -24 mos away from the real down cycle turn. As ever...interest rates are the canaryI'm starting to see quite a few price drops in the real estate listings. I didn't see them a month ago.
Today I put in an offer on a home at 85% of its original list price; the listing agent didn't take offense.In my area, it was common to see Contingent/Pending sales after being on the market for only a couple of days. But now many houses have been on the market for 1-2 weeks without any action. Price drops are becoming common. It's obvious that something is happening. Sellers are pricing their homes too high and buyers are not desperate (or don't have the money).
Barring any heavy lockdowns this winter, I suspect that next spring/summer will have much better deals. But if there is another strong lockdown that constricts inventory, the high prices will continue.
I used to love idaho/montana, but people from california/texas have driven up prices a legit 3x in 1-2 years over there. Are there any wet and mountainous areas left? Arkansas seems good, but the heat would kill me. I look at Minnesota/Wisconsin area or north Maine. I havent given up on colorado,idaho,montana, but you need 500k+ to even play out there.
West Virginia's state nickname is "The Mountain State" and almost all of it gets over 40" of annual precipitation. Beautiful scenery, real wilderness, real estate is cheap, and there's little to no blue urban culture to speak of. Possibly in Harper's Ferry area and Morgantown (home of the state university), but I doubt your interest would lie in those areas anyway. Technically "Appalachia" includes a bit of land over the Ohio River in Ohio but it's more hilly than truly mountainous.
Trump carried all 55 counties. The only close one was 49.4-48.2 in Monongalia County (where Morgantown is).
Unfortunately, the state does have its own income tax.W. Virginia gets an undeserved bad rap. It’s beautiful. It should be on anyone’s list who’s looking for a conservative, non-cosmopolitan place to live.
To think, I thought UK HPI was bad...........I used to love idaho/montana, but people from california/texas have driven up prices a legit 3x in 1-2 years over there. Are there any wet and mountainous areas left? Arkansas seems good, but the heat would kill me. I look at Minnesota/Wisconsin area or north Maine. I havent given up on colorado,idaho,montana, but you need 500k+ to even play out there.
Colorado median household income: £72k/$99kTo think, I thought UK HPI was bad...........
Today I put in an offer on a home at 85% of its original list price; the listing agent didn't take offense.
W. Virginia gets an undeserved bad rap. It’s beautiful. It should be on anyone’s list who’s looking for a conservative, non-cosmopolitan place to live.