posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 09:31 AM
I am a land owner, about 80 acres of wilderness and 10 of open farm land. Maybe I can help a bit, but first I would need to know more about what
you're trying to find.
All land is not created equal. Farmland is a certain price based on how well farming is doing. Building lots are another price based on location,
amenities (such as ease of utilities, availability of shopping and schools), and the local housing market. Wilderness is another price depending on
simply how badly the owner needs to sell. None of these are appropriate for certain uses; don't try to build a housing development inside an
undeveloped wilderness unless you have a lot of ready cash!
An even bigger consideration is: where do you want to be? Trust me, there is a huge difference between something on the edge of a suburban area and
something so far back you have to pipe in sunlight. Land here is up right now, to about $1000/acre, compared to town where a 1/2 acre lot can be
$30,000 or more. There is also a world of difference as to how well you will be satisfied with your purpose. If you have never lived alone (and I
don't mean minus parents, I mean in a house with no neighbors you can see), you want to stay close to civilization. There's much more to country
living than almost anyone realizes.
Since this is in the survival forum, and since you mentioned northern MN (which if memory serves is sparsely populated), I am going to assume you are
looking for a mini-farm. Your best bet is to find a place where you already have some buildings, maybe an older house that is abandoned
('fixer-upper'), a small barn or large shed, and a few new building sites on it. You can simply go out and drive around to look for something like
this. Chances are you won't see many on the major roads, so take every (public) side road and ride it. Look at what's there, which plot seems to
peak your interest, what's not there, etc. Use roads and treelines/fences for landmarks and keep a small notepad. If you see a dirty little 'For
Sale' sign, stop and call to check on it. If not, you can take those landmarks and go to the county courthouse and view the public land tax records
to locate where the property lines are and who owns them.
Your best bet is to find something that has the little sign, as most people without one aren't really thinking of selling; still it can do no major
harm to ask the owners if they would sell some or all of the places you really like. In either case, if you are unsure of how real estate works,
get a broker. A broker will charge you a few percent of the selling price, but their advise can help you avoid paying top dollar for something
you can't use (like a strip of land containing 10 acres, but 20 feet wide at the widest point). Even if you don't get a broker to help you, get a
title search and survey done before you close the deal! Otherwise, you might have just become the proud owner of something you can't own. A lot
of people have lost their new land because the title to it wasn't clear and the deed wasn't worth the paper it was written on. Yeah, it costs a few
bucks more, but at least you actually receive something for what you paid.
Also, always have an attorney do the closing. I don't like lawyers; I consider lawyers to be the worst criminal masterminds civilization has ever
conceived of. But a good attorney will prevent you from facing angry attorneys later on if someone doesn't dot a 't' or cross an 'i' the right
way. And that is not a nice thing to be facing.
As for prices, there is no hard and fast rule that says a place is worth this or that. Unlike WalMart merchandise, every spot of land is different.
I'd suggest going by a few small convenience stores in the area and grabbing some of the little classified newspapers. Look for anything close to
where you are buying and in about the same condition as what you are buying, as well as about the same size you are buying. Compare prices and you
should get a feel for what land is really going for in that area. Large parcels (100 acres, 1000 acres) will go for a lot less per acre than small
places with an acre or two. Houses will drastically increase the value, especially if they are in decent shape. The closer a place is to a town, the
higher it will be. Take all these things into consideration to get an idea of how much it should be worth.
Then haggle, especially if the owners need to sell it. The only real thing that determines the price of land is how much a buyer (you) are willing to
pay for it and how much the owners are willing to sell it for.
It also wouldn't be a bad idea to at least visit an actual Realtor and talk to them about what they have available. Remember the price is negotiable.
If they have something you like, make an offer. If the owners say 'no', they say 'no'; you haven't lost anything. They might just say 'yes'. In
most places, though, an offer is a contract; it's expensive to back out of it, and very expensive/hard to do if you put up 'earnest money'. Be sure
before you make an offer. You can also put conditions on an offer, such as the place appraising for a certain amount, or the house you haven't been
in being in acceptable shape.
Oh, yes, and before you close the deal, check out what's around the place. Do you really want to be isolated? Are the neighbors old ratty men with a
chew of tobacco and a shotgun in their hand, sporting long scars across their faces? You might be in a bad neighborhood. Is that nice flat grassy area
hiding quicksand? Don't want to get that sinking feeling when you try to break ground for that garden. Also check on taxes, state/Federal insurance
requirements (like flood plains) and how much it will cost to get the utilities you want/need. This is where that broker can be worth their weight in
Hope this helped, be careful and be lucky. Also feel free to U2U me if you have any more questions.