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Old 03-25-2014, 07:07 AM   #1
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


Just curious from those that have purchased rural land/acreage, what steps did you take in the process and any lessons learned?

Right now I am looking at 40 acres just south of the twin cities, mn. No utilities on site currently, power lines on main road at driveway entrance.

Working right now with county to understand build rights. Plan to then work with local water and soil to get perc and quote on a well/septic. Get quote on pulling power.

Seeing what others have experienced so I can minimize as many mistakes as possible

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Old 03-25-2014, 07:56 AM   #2
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


I have done this, though on a much smaller parcel. First thing, above all else, is the perc test. Typically, if that doesn't pass, you can't build a house. It may also be a factor in where on the property you can put the house. In most places, the local Health Department will tell you what type and size of septic you need, and where to put it.

In my experience, you'll never get a quote for a well. There are too many variables. My neighbor's, about 100 feet from mine, is 250 feet deep. Mine came in at 750. That depth means a larger pump, threaded pipe instead of flexible, etc., etc. It was $12K before I had water.

As for electric, mine was required to be underground (which I would've done in any case). I dug the trench and laid the conduit myself (about 150 feet). Pulling the conductors and hookup by the power company was at no charge. There would've been a charge ($300 or so) for temporary power, so I just skipped that.

It's important to spend some time at the site to figure out where you want the house and how to orient it relative to sunrise/sunset and perhaps prevailing winds. With 40 acres, you've probably got many options. My land isn't flat (very little in WV is flat) so I had only a few possibilities without serious extra expense.

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Old 03-25-2014, 08:55 AM   #3
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


Different locations have different issues to deal with.
Around here I be checking if where I plan to build is above the flood plain.
Some areas have to deal with mineral and water rights.
I've found having that temp. power pole to be well worth the money.
Someone's going to have to spend almost that much just for gas for a generator to build the house and have to hear it running for months at a time.
With that much land your going to be needing a garage, If it's detached build it first. That way you have a dry place to store materials and not have them in the way.
Rights of way can be another issue. Utility's running through the property, owner next door has been using your property to gain access to part of there's can give them right to keep doing so.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:05 AM   #4
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


You sound knowledgeable so you probably already know this, but you need the proper distances between the well and the septic. Think about this in relationship to the house.
If you plan to build anywhere near the edge of your property, research setback requirements for not only buildings, but septic etc.

Lastly, when we built in Texas, keeping a couple of calves on the property allowed us an agricultural exemption and really cut our taxes.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:27 AM   #5
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


Just a few thoughts. Whoever issues permits can be a valuable resource on what your county or municipal authority will require, as well as on what the "showstoppers"are in your area. I would spend some time looking at the land and talking to locals about surface water flow if your parcel is fairly flat. In my area, many people have had trouble after building in the country when they get wetter years or years with higher than normal spring runoff. Know where your water goes and stay away from it. Sometimes locals will have a good sense of where the aquifers are and how they lay for well placement. When my dad built our house south of Winnipeg, an old timer told him to drill on the east side of a rise on our property. He did, and so he got good drinking water. The old well on the property -about 100 feet west had alkaline mineral heavy water.
Lastly, the perc test is critical, but also ask what other technologies are acceptable if the perc tests are marginal, because there are some out there for marginal locations. We see them more in cottage country where there is more rock and less soil overburden
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:10 AM   #6
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


Tigerbalm -

You probably will not get a "price" for a well. "Just south" of the twin cities there are many placed that have only about 10 of good soil over a solid rock (usually limestone), while others may have water bear soil to good depths just a small distance away. The well drills have a good idea, but getting a "firm" price will be difficult. Any time you are near a river or where one ran decades ago, you can expect high variability.

As far as septic systems, find a good, established contractor and make sure it approved by the Minnesota Department of Health before he is paid off. The good contractors know the requirements and procedures and what should be inspected when to eliminate problems. I had system put in on a lake home and I don't think the inspector actually saw the contractor much because the contractor did something because he would call the inspector and did a pit and leave it open with a note for the inspector. It was done quickly and only saw a bit of it because I lived 150 miles away and went up to do work on the home weekends or meet subs. About a week or two after it was done, I got a large certificate from the MDH certifying in was approved and described the dimensions, tank size, pipe lengths, materials, drainfield lengths and locations and type of backfill. The information and certification was worth it weight in gold when I sold the home 6 years later because lakeshore is tough to get approvals on.

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Last edited by concretemasonry; 03-25-2014 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:56 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone, all good information! The land is made up of ponds, a stream, some pasture, and some large hills. I havent purchased it yet but its nice to dig in and learn about all this as I proceed forward with picking out land.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:38 AM   #8
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


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Originally Posted by tigerbalm2424 View Post
Thanks everyone, all good information! The land is made up of ponds, a stream, some pasture, and some large hills. I havent purchased it yet but its nice to dig in and learn about all this as I proceed forward with picking out land.
Sounds nice, though I don't think I could live in MN - WV winters are bad enough. One thing I miss on my property is there's no pond or stream. But at least the Shenandoah River is only a couple of hundred yards away.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:28 AM   #9
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


Hire a good lawyer (if there is such a thing) to do a search and transfer of the property. Find out if you still have the mineral rights and if there is any easements or leans on the property. Find out before the deal is done!
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:13 AM   #10
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And research any deed restrictions. Ours had a couple we didn't find out about until after the deal was done. Luckily nothing major.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:20 AM   #11
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


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Hire a good lawyer (if there is such a thing) to do a search and transfer of the property. Find out if you still have the mineral rights and if there is any easements or leans on the property. Find out before the deal is done!
When we bought ours, we paid for title insurance rather than having to worry about liens. Not sure if one way is better or cheaper than the other.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:25 AM   #12
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


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And research any deed restrictions. Ours had a couple we didn't find out about until after the deal was done. Luckily nothing major.
Can you expand on that a little bit? What kind of deed restrictions are you speaking of? The land is just raw rural land at this point so I am trying to get an idea of what i should look for on the deed.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:29 AM   #13
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


There are all kinds of things that affect the land.
It could be a wetland and no building is allowed.
There could be restrictions on cutting the forest down.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:34 AM   #14
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There are all kinds of things that affect the land.
It could be a wetland and no building is allowed.
There could be restrictions on cutting the forest down.
Oh ok, now I understand what he is speaking off. Yes, I have been working with the county regarding these concerns. Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:01 PM   #15
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Rural land purchase... plan to build on..


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Can you expand on that a little bit? What kind of deed restrictions are you speaking of? The land is just raw rural land at this point so I am trying to get an idea of what i should look for on the deed.
Our house and the house to our north were built by the same guy for himself and his best buddy. They added restrictions such as limiting the number of outbuildings within so many hundred feet of the homes.
Common practice here is if the parents have property, as the kids come of age they just add mobile homes until the place looks like a trailer park. These people didn't want that to happen. Reasonable - IMHO. They also added a restriction on cutting trees in the immediate area. Also not a deal breaker, we like trees.

When we bought raw land in Texas (first 10 acres, then an adjoining 20) there was a developer involved, so they added restrictions such as type and size of home, how long you could live in a trailer on the property while you build, etc. (The county also had restrictions regarding wells.)

If there is a developer involved there is more than likely going to be restrictions of some sort. And even if there is no current developer, you don't know what any previous owners may have added until you look.

Edited to add:
Quote:
The origins of these restrictions can vary. Maybe the property is located in a neighborhood with an active homeowner's association that created the restrictions, or in a historic urban neighborhood where restrictions have been in place for years, or in a rural area where two neighboring farmers made a deal 100 years ago that is still in force.
Quote taken from http://home.howstuffworks.com/real-e...strictions.htm


Last edited by Blondesense; 03-26-2014 at 12:17 PM.
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