Are you interested in LAND?  Then you might find one of these articles handy:

Homestead Woodlot Management by Doug Smith

Yesterday’s Fence for Today’s Homestead by Kathryn Wingrove

Living with Poison Oak by Wade Truex

Homestead Prepping: Buying a B.O.L. by Doug Smith

Attract Wildlife to Your Property by Doug Smith

Crofting Life by Magdalena Perks

Buying Land at a Tax Auction by Neil Shelton

How to Sell Your Land Yourself and Move on with Your Life by Neil Shelton

How to do a Genuinely Hafast Job of Surveying Your Own Land by Neil Shelton



How to Buy Land Very Cheaply

Even in this day and age, unwanted land still exists, for those who know how to find it.

by Neil Shelton

It seems as if everybody wants land, and those that have it want more.  I suppose there are a few exceptions to this rule, but not many, because even a monk needs a monastery.

That's why land prices are always high, and why some folks feel that if they can't afford land now, they'll never be able to in the future.  Tax sales may be a dandy way for the state to collect its due, but the buyer rarely ends up with marketable title and foreclosures often prove to be far more trouble than they're worth.

After a time, we get the idea that we need to accept land which is deficient in some way; property near a land fill maybe, or without deeded access.  We feel that we must pay some other cost in lieu of the cash we don’t have to spend in order to get a good deal.

Or at least that’s the hair-shirt approach.  In fact, the best way to save hot, steaming piles of cash on a land purchase is simply to find someone whose plans have changed. 

For example: Arlene met Bob at Woodstock.  Together they planned to leave New Haven as soon as Arlene finished her degree in anthropology.  They had an idea to move out into the country and let their lives regress to the Stone Age.  They'd live nude except for animal skins and make their living foraging for roots and berries.  After a few years, they'd write a book and become famous.  So, with some money from her inheritance, they bought forty acres of wooded land in the Midwest with a really charming cave, and begin to fashion their future.

However it turned out that Bob had uncouth personal habits and Arlene was a big of a nag.  Thus, it came to be that Arlene and Bob gradually grew apart and went their separate ways.

That was years ago, but Arlene still has that property.  She hardly ever thinks about it though, except when the annual tax bills come in.  Even then, the tax bills on vacant woods seem so cheap compared to her Atlanta condominium, that she just pays them without much thought.  The price she paid for the land back then wouldn’t buy her a space in the parking lot today, so she doesn't view it as much of an asset.

I suppose you could say that Arlene’s lust for land has been fairly sated by this time.

So you’re thinking, “That’s a great story Neil, and if I had the rest of the morning to waste, I’d sure like to hear the the whole thing, but since I don’t, and since I don’t know anybody like you’re describing in the area where I want to buy land…”

Bear with me a moment.

You can find people like Arlene.  It’s simple. 

But first, you’ll need a couple of tools.

Tools You’ll Need for Buying Land Very Cheaply

Tool Number One. -   A County Plat Book.  Each county in every state makes their real estate ownership data available to private mapping companies who make maps detailing all the land ownership in the county.  You can usually find these for sale in one or more of the office in the county courthouse.  They tend to run $40-80.

You can get plat books online from Mapping Solutions. They have maps in twelve different states (Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa).  If you live someplace else, you can probably find a company online that serves your state.  All of Mapping Solutions'  eBooks are now delivered digitally; they also have a product called a SmartMap for most counties that allows you to have the maps on your tablet or smart phone with your GPS location shown on the map.

Here’s a page out of a typical county plat book showing the name of each landowner and the number of acres in each parcel.

Tool Number Two - Maps. It would be a nice idea if you have plenty of maps of your area.  I used to buy these on paper too, but now I find that I can get what I need online.

Topographic maps and aerial photography are online at MSR Maps

I also find Google Earth invaluable and getting better all the time.

Throughout this article, I've placed different views of the same forty-acre parcel on several different maps, to give you an idea of how much you can learn about a particular property without ever leaving home.

  Continued on page 2   >


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