A place of my own

This is a discussion on A place of my own within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; One of my life goals has been to acquire land of my own. Over the past year I've started to look into it seriously. As ...

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Thread: A place of my own

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array A1C Lickey's Avatar
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    A place of my own

    One of my life goals has been to acquire land of my own. Over the past year I've started to look into it seriously. As of right now any land I would buy would be used for camping, possible bug out, and fifteen to twenty years down the road as a homestead.

    Right now I'm looking in Northern Arizona. We live near Phoenix now and I'd like to stay in Arizona. So far I've been looking at 36-40 acre lots and tree cover and a water source have been major factors. We've looked a little north of Prescott (and will look some more in this area) and last week I took a drive out to St. John's and looked at some lots there. While the land near St. John's was beautiful it just wasn't what I was looking for.

    I know that several members here own land either as their home, or as a hunting cabin, bug out location, etc, and I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions? Any things to consider? Things to avoid? How far away from my current residence would you recommend (for a bug out location)? What do you find most important? What do you find you can live without (or find workarounds for)?

    Thanks.
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    Look for property that has a source of recreation so you enjoy visiting it. Make sure you can get electricity and water. If you find a place that borders government land that's a plus. You will want a place that you can get to year round. Make sure the property has a place suitable to build a house and plant a garden. Check for restrictions on the property

    If you can find a place with a house or cabin already on it, that would be even better. If not look for a place where you can get a travel trailer or RV in and out without much trouble

    What do you like to do and how does the property fit in with that.
    Shooting.
    Horses.
    Fishing.
    Four wheelers.
    Wife or girlfriend.
    Kids or grand kids.
    Hunting.

    Keep in mind a small piece of land bordering government land offers more freedom than a large tract surrounded by homes.
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    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    We did this here in KS when I retired from the army in 2005. We bought 40 acres, paid it off, then bought the back 40, paid it off, saved a couple years then built our house.

    Best advice, save money.

    Everything costs more than you'd expect. Loans are available for raw land, but generally the interest rates are higher (commercial rates) and there's not too many banks that will deal with raw land unless you expect to build within 12 months or so. Also expect to have to put down a larger deposit.

    As for the land itself, in no special order; zoning, availability of utilities (for future), water, mineral rights, access, terrain. Terrain/zoning was a big deal for me as I wanted to build my own range. Finding suitable backstops (hill) here in KS was a PITA, luckily as things worked out we found a piece that has hill to hill, so I have rifle targets out to 500m.

    Raw land "briefs well', but keep in mind every improvement is going to cost either time , money, or both. A well depending on your area/water table can set you back 10K+, the electric company runs power lines by the foot, and depending on your setup a transformer is 3K. A decent gravel road can be 2-3K in materials. Plain septic system (your land percs, so you don't need a lagoon or engineered system) is close to 10K. The further out you are generally, the more expensive as materials have to be trucked in further.

    IF you're just going to use it for a retreat, area to shoot/camp, no big deal, but you did mention homesteading, that's where the expense comes in.

    Chuck
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  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
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    Steve makes a good point on border land, depending on the use and designation of the govt land. And OP, you're very correct about securing water. Assuming you want electric service at some point, check out the cost. Remote areas can be pretty costly. Go for high ground on the property for many reasons. Given that you're in the West, understand the mineral rights. Understand any restrictions on the land such as water shed and run off, etc. (not likely north of Prescott). Verify easements to the property and/or through the property. In Arizona, find out if there has been any mining history on a given piece of land. You may be buying into a relationship with the EPA or you may have heavy metals, etc.

    Most of these points sound time intensive and are a bit of a bummer to consider but the homework is necessary. My farm has unexploded ordinance potential since this was a firing range during WWII. I live not far off of Range Road....my first clue. I knew it when I bought it but that's my point. I went in with eyes open.
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  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    All the advice you have been given is spot-on. I think you are wise to look and buy now. If you want a piece of property "way out" you may have to plan on a generator for electricity.

    The other thing to consider, are you buying property within what will become a sub-division eventually, that has a Home Owners Association, with by-laws and regulations that you will have to abide by? HOAs can be a real PITA......with more rules than living on-base.
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    One cost is fencing. If you plan on having animals or raising beef etc. This will require at least a perimeter fence. TPosts are very expensive and to fence 40 acres can set you back a lot of money. Check on clearing the land. There are strict regulations on cutting down trees in most areas and requires a licensed forester to submit a plan before you can cut down the trees. Water and power are big things to think of and like already said get a perculation(sp) test on the property if you need an engineered system move on.

    There is no feeling like waking up on your own place no neighbors and no homeowners association to tell you what to do and when to do it. Having coffee with the natural inhabitants of the land is fulfilling.

    Good Luck

  8. #7
    Member Array Brenden061's Avatar
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    Cell phone service might be something to consider
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    VIP Member Array Aceoky's Avatar
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    I would make sure a reputable Survey company surveyed the land very well, not much worse than finding out your "property" is not where you thought the boundaries are/were. Many good points made as well.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Array A1C Lickey's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I'll try to address some of the things you've brought up.

    As far as utilities, I'm figuring I'm going to provide my own, either via solar or wind. One of the problems I've found is several of the communities have CC&R's that prohibit target shooting so that rules them out for me.

    As far as land with something already on it, I'd rather not. If we do build a home up there I'd like it to be mine and I'd rather not inherit somebody else's problems. Also I'm looking more towards alternative housing (i.e. domes) for energy efficiency.

    As far as raising beef that's not our goal, at most we're looking at raising chickens and maybe rabbits. I'd rather avoid fencing my land in if possible, but I do under stand why land bordering BLM or a National Forest would be best.

    Thanks again guys.
    TSgt. Lickey

    It takes a college degree to break'em;
    and a high school education to fix'em!

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array nontechguy's Avatar
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    Along with a good survey, never forget title insurance.
    It saved my butt.
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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceoky View Post
    I would make sure a reputable Survey company surveyed the land very well, not much worse than finding out your "property" is not where you thought the boundaries are/were. Many good points made as well.
    I'll second a good survey. The property lines on my little 3.5 acres were off about 3' from one end to the other. Over 40+ acres it would be substantial.


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  13. #12
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    I understand you not raising beef but to collect a grazing fee on your land is a good thing. You can lease out to probably ten head of cattle and you get two things fertilizer and fire control with them eating. Just a thought but any way to make a dollar off of land you own should be considered. Just my thought if it doesn't perform a job or make a profit I replace it.
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  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Im looking in the same areas. Desert land is much cheaper, but my wife and I don't think we could take the heat so we are looking at higher elevations [ ponderosa pine areas]. Williams, Mt Lemon, Flagstaff, are all on our short list. To get what I want and everything on her list we are looking outside of any community. A little longer drive for cheaper property that has what we want. If I were a few years younger Id want to build completely off the grid. Wind and Solar have come along way toward seamless living. Where I live now our biggest cost is water. So we are used to conserving. If you are in it for the long term, you might want to look in areas that have recently burned. The loss of trees will reduce the property values now but will grow back soon enough. On our next trip out we are looking at two fire damaged property's near Mt Lemon. Good luck DR
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