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rparmfamily
06-17-2006, 10:38 PM
Has anyone bought land, for future building?

We are thinking of buying some property in the NE (Vermont or NH) and building a summer home eventually. Not sure how to even start though.

dznyacct
06-17-2006, 11:56 PM
We bought 12 acres about 10 years ago with the intent to build a home. Well, in the summer of 2001 we gathered up all of our construction bids and I about had a heart attack at the final cost :scared1: . I am an Accountant and pretty conservative in my personal comfort zone when it comes to expenses. After a long talk, we decided that is was best to sell the land and build somewhere closer to our jobs/families. My MIL is a realtor, so she helped us find the land (and then sell it :) ). It was hard to sell the property , but we made more than 100% profit on it after having it for 6 years :thumbsup2 , which made a VERY nice down payment on our new house that we had built 3 years ago. Good luck in your search!

jeankeri
06-18-2006, 06:11 AM
Being from VT, land prices here have gone out of control. This is dependent on how build up the area is and how the school system rates where you are looking. There are some reasonable lots in very rural communities or very built up sprawl communities. To buy land I believe you need 40% down. Also, VT has very strict septic laws- there are very few towns with town sewage. You have to make sure the lot will 'perk' or you will not be able to place a septic system, and you cannot build. Lastly, the cost to run electric is $100/foot underground. Nice, secluded lots are very expensive to get electricity to. All local realtors will have land listings. Have you investigated areas you are interested in?

rparmfamily
06-18-2006, 07:05 AM
Well, actually, we are looking in Maine. We lived up there for several years (in the early 2000's) and just fell in love with Maine. We are looking at anywhere along the coast, but not on an island or with a water view because we can not afford that. Most of the property we have seen online states some information about the septic, like how many bedrooms your house can have. Our plan is to one year clear it, few more years put the lines out to the lot from the road. (sewage,etc), and then probably put a modular or a mobile home on it for now. Eventually we would like to build, but that's closer to DH's retirement, say in 10 years. If we put a modular on it we'd probably just leave it. We own our home here in Fla and have great equity in it, so we may just pull cash from it and buy the land straightout. We'd definately go up to see the land first and have some surveys/inspections done before we commit, I don't want marshland/swampland,etc and of course it needs to be able to be built on. We have lots of good friends still up there willing to help us find companies and look at the property too.

Right now I'd like to be closer to Freeport/Bath area but DH is looking more towards Bar Harbor.

I'm a little overwhelmed right now thinking about it, but for us, it's a longterm goal.

I understand that land deals can sometimes not work out. My MIL inherited some land in NC from her mother and it's landlocked, so they are having huge issues with that.

Thank you for all your help!

DVC Sadie
06-18-2006, 07:08 AM
We have bought land before as an investment and to build our home. When we deceided not to build we had no problem selling the lot.

A good place to start is with a real estate agent. You could also buy a newspaper from the area you are interested in buying land to see what the prices would be like for that area.

barkley
06-18-2006, 09:07 AM
i would look very closely into the zoning restrictions for the area to ensure that the type of home you want to build is even permitted. some areas also have restrictions that prohibit "temporary structures" which include modular homes, trailers and the like. also check and see what the future plans for the area are-sometimes the city manager's office has good information-what may seem like a relaxed, sleepy little place now could be earmarked for massive construction within a few years (we had neighbors who were livid when a strip mall was built on land behind thier homes, had they taken the time-like those of who bought new-to check the city growth plan they would have known that the entire neighborhood we lived in was mixed zoning and that strip mall had been in the works for several years).

also check to see if there are any "endangered" or "protected" wildlife prone to the area-several news stories have been on around here wherein folks bought hugely expensive land not realizing they were prone to certain critters being looked at for protection. when it came time to build the environmental impact reports prevented construction all together.

one way to keep construction costs down (at least it's popular around here) is to buy land with even the most falling down building on it. some places charge far less for building permits and have much more lenient laws re what can be built if it's going to be a "re-model" vs. new construction. a town near us is famous for this, and people buy lots that have a fallen down shack so they can use one wall, reinforce the studds, and justify their entire construction as a re-model.

katied
06-18-2006, 09:44 AM
We bought land up in WI, with the plans of some day building on it. The best thing is to find a very good Realtor to represent you - ideally someone who will help you understand the various issues. For us - it included understand what land had snow mobile access and where (since that can impact where you can build on the land), restrictions on building a certain distance from the water, and having a "perk" test done before buying to sort out what we would be able to build and where (the perk test tells you where you have to lay out the septic system, and what the land will be able to support for a septic field). DH made about 4 trips up to WI to sort everything out before we settled on the land, and so far we've had no suprises post purchase. However, we also bought in an area where we knew resale was not a problem (we're on a lake with only 5% private ownership - the rest is state park land, so the 5% sells very quickly when available). Also - we got a list of all zoing/building restrictions pre purcahse - including no temp structures (e.g., modular or mobile homes, RVs, etc.) and all homes must be "natural" - green or brown roof, and wood/wood colored siding.

I would not buy without one of you visiting yourself to be clear what you're getting into, what's around the land, and how you can access it.

mikesmom
06-18-2006, 09:44 AM
i would look very closely into the zoning restrictions for the area to ensure that the type of home you want to build is even permitted. some areas also have restrictions that prohibit "temporary structures" which include modular homes, trailers and the like. also check and see what the future plans for the area are-sometimes the city manager's office has good information-what may seem like a relaxed, sleepy little place now could be earmarked for massive construction within a few years (we had neighbors who were livid when a strip mall was built on land behind thier homes, had they taken the time-like those of who bought new-to check the city growth plan they would have known that the entire neighborhood we lived in was mixed zoning and that strip mall had been in the works for several years).

also check to see if there are any "endangered" or "protected" wildlife prone to the area-several news stories have been on around here wherein folks bought hugely expensive land not realizing they were prone to certain critters being looked at for protection. when it came time to build the environmental impact reports prevented construction all together.

one way to keep construction costs down (at least it's popular around here) is to buy land with even the most falling down building on it. some places charge far less for building permits and have much more lenient laws re what can be built if it's going to be a "re-model" vs. new construction. a town near us is famous for this, and people buy lots that have a fallen down shack so they can use one wall, reinforce the studds, and justify their entire construction as a re-model.
I agree. Not only restrictions, but look for "covenants". We bought some land earlier this year and not only could you not put up any temporary structures, the covenants even required that any new structures be at least 75% brick or stone face. Now, not all covenants and restrictions are enforceable (original owners in our case are long gone) but getting a lawyer to put up a legal battle for you is usually just not worth the cost.

Gillian
06-18-2006, 09:57 AM
If you do not have a realtor up there already, be sure to interview several. You could call some offices and ask to speak to the office manager. Tell the manager your specific needs and ask if there is someone knowledgeable to help you. I know in our office the policy is for the leads to go to the person who is "up" (answering the phone) at the moment, but that may not be the person who can provide the most guidance. Another way is to ask a local real estate friend for a referral because you should get an experienced agent that way.

Good luck! Watch out for wetlands!

rparmfamily
06-18-2006, 11:11 AM
Thanks for all your information everyone! :) I am going to ask around w/my friends for a referral for a realtor. I am just paranoid about any nasty surprises!

Jon99
06-18-2006, 11:13 AM
Also think about the expenses of owning the land, including taxes.. I have a lawncare company and maintain several lots for people that have bought them for a future house.. I get $400 per year per lot, which keeps the grass cut at a height that meets city ordinances, normally 10 cuts a year.. Toss in taxes and these people are paying about $1000 a year for that empty lot..

DVC Sadie
06-18-2006, 11:19 AM
Thanks for all your information everyone! :) I am ask around w/my friends for a referral for a realtor. I am just paranoid about any nasty surprises!

There should never be any nasty surprises as long as you do your homework and get a good realtor.

If you have any questions in regards to wet lands, water access or what type of house would be allowed, I urge you to talk to potential neighbors in the area. They will know of any pitfalls or anything else you should happen to want to know.

In our neighborhood no one is allowed to have a fence that goes beyond the front of the house, plus they do not allow RV's so a lot of people have built RV garages. The houses also have to have a minimum square footage.