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What is a fair price per acre for land?

 
Paul Pittman
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Hello! Long time lurker, 1st time poster.


I'm hoping to get some feedback from those of you that own your land as to what a reasonable price per acre is in today's real estate market. I understand that this is a loaded question and there are a million and one variables that impact value (i.e. location, existing buildings, tillable land/forest, water/gas/electricity availability, etc), but specifically, I'm looking at SW Michigan about as far north as Grand Rapids. I've come across some vastly differing results.

I've found prices going anywhere from $3,500/acre for a property w/ a 3br, 2 bath manufactured home, pond, mix of pasture/woods, to a piece of property that works out to $6,800/acre with no house, but a decent looking pole barn (almost twice as expensive/acre). I'm still a few years away from pulling the trigger on the purchase, but for purposes of trying to budget/compare property prices, is $4,500-$5,000/acre a reasonable range?

For those of you that live outside the region & would like to chime in, please feel free to provide your location, price/acre, when you acquired your property & what prices are going for in your area today. Perhaps I can sway the wife to move to an area outside of SW Michigan.

Many thanks!
 
            
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I have seen 2,500 - 9,000 an acre for undeveloped or cleared land with no structures near me in piedmont NC. I guess it depends upon their motivations. A lot of older articles advocate getting county land maps/stopping by the courthouse and contacting owners of land parcels who are not local who might want to sell but did not previously think that they could. Also, someone who might own 100+ acres might consider breaking off a little chunk of 5-10 acres for a 15-30,000 payday if they are in need of cash. The advantages of taking your time and asking around might get you the piece of land you really want.
 
Erik Lee
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Much of it depends on what you plan to do with the land. I recently bought land that was fairly expensive by local standards, but it met my particular needs nicely -- I'm setting up a little farm to market direct to customers, so I needed to be close enough to town that they would be willing to make the trek on a regular basis. Also, I am in the middle of creating what I'm calling an "alley grazing" setup -- alleys of grazing land separated by rows of forest dominated by crop trees and valuable herbs, planted on contour. So for that, I needed a piece of land with a little bit of hilliness and a lot of open space. I'd say that the best way to price shop for land would be to come up with a list of criteria that you feel are important for the land to meet, then go around looking at all the pieces of land that make the grade. That'll give you a distribution of prices to work with, and it will make it easier to determine whether or not the "good deal" is really worthwhile. The land I ended up buying looked expensive until I culled out all the "good deals" that wouldn't have done what I needed them to do. Among the other real potentials, it was actually a pretty decent price.

If you see something that looks like it's almost good enough, try to estimate how much it would cost to bring it up to snuff and add that to the purchase price for comparison purposes.

I also agree with John P's advice, though it didn't end up working in my case (seems like land around here is sold before it's even on the market). I spent two years looking and following leads, just for a point of reference (i.e. you're doing the right thing by not getting in a rush).
 
Monte Hines
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Where I live, IL -IA , "rich flat tillable bare farm ground" is bringing $8,000 - $14,000 per acre.

Due to low interest rates, people with money have moved to investing in land rather than houses, making farmers and investors pay more. This will probably create a bubble long term... Especially considering monoculture farming is doomed long term (my opinion). The soil is mostly dead and polluted with chemicals.

The masses of people have not caught on how valuable hilly ground with timber is. It can generally be bought for a lot less, i.e $1000 - $4000 / acre, depending on acres and location.

Look at the years it took to create all that biomass on hilly timber ground. What is the future value of that biomass? In most cases that hilly timber ground biomass ground is not polluted with chemicals. Look at the opportunity for creating edge polycultures on hilly timber ground (ie Sepp Holtzer). Look at opportunity to build Hugelkulture raised garden beds using local on farm debris.

I believe the real value buys still can be had on rough hilly timber ground, before the paradigm shift is made to polycuture from monoculture...

What do others think?

Regards To All,
Monte Hines
Hines Farm Blog
 
michaelson alexander
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Grateful for this thread. Can anyone from CA/Northwest give any price ranges? Thanks everyone.
 
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela
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Farmland in Michigan is going for $1500/acre and up. Woodlands in the area you are looking is not any less. I wouldn't budget any less than that. I think the median is maybe $2000/acre in the, truly, rural zones. Toward a big economic center I would think $4000/acre is median.
 
Paul Pittman
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Everybody, thanks for the input.

Ultimately, I'm looking to buy as much land as I can afford, but would like a minimum of 20 acres & a mix of tillable & woods, with the emphasis on the woods. The goal would be to use the property to live a more self-sustaining life by homesteading in the short term and eventually implementing the right systems to create enough of a surplus for local sale.

Monte, those are some crazy numbers in IL. I'm totally on board with your thinking and am definitely gearing my search towards land that has not been strictly cleared & used for conventional farming due to the lack of organic material in the soil & accumulation of chemcial fertilizers and pesticdes. I'm even concerned with buying land NEAR such places because of the runoff of these chemicals into the water ways. I've seen some of the Sepp Holtzer videos that show what is capable in "unconventional" hilly/mountinous areas, so I am definitely looking for some land with "character".
 
Paul Pittman
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Susanna de Villareal-Quintela wrote:Farmland in Michigan is going for $1500/acre and up. Woodlands in the area you are looking is not any less. I wouldn't budget any less than that. I think the median is maybe $2000/acre in the, truly, rural zones. Toward a big economic center I would think $4000/acre is median.


Susanna, have you seen any significant fluctuations in price these past few years in this area?

Intuitively, I would GUESS prices have gone down for rural properties and that they were not completely insulated from the rest of the housing market and economic collapse that much of the country has experienced. On the other hand, I can see the point about investors speculating on such properties, as the metrics of value, supply, and demand are different than say a house in a subdivision outside a major metropolitan area or a condo in a big city.

My goal is to make this happen as soon as practical for my situation, as I think prices for land are inevitably going to go higher. Unfortunately, the timeline for doing so is at least a few years off (but better to be safeR (financially) than sorry).
 
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela
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Of course it depends on the individual tract of land but I have seen a huge shift in prices in my target area. I'm a little north of where you want to be... in Mecosta county. I bought a run-down 3200 sq ft. log cabin on 1.5 acres on a lake. We bought our property for a steal through a forclosrue sale (we were fortunate enough to pay cash). We have spent the past several years breathing life into the old place and keeping our eyes on the real estate market for the upcoming land purchase (we'd like 80 - 160 acres). This area is hilly and has plenty of water... streams, rivers, lakes, etc and a tremendous amount of protected State and Federal land.

The old-timers in the area tell me land prices have fallen almost 50% for the smaller mixed acreage (20-40). The best tillable farmland hasn't moved much... and strong woodlands with harvest at hand or close to harvest are still top dollar. But, like anywhere else, second homes and hunting lands are being let go back to the banks at a staggering frequency. Picking-up the right parcel from a bank is your target if you want the most bang for your buck. These banks are looking to cut bad debt off the books as quick as possible (to improve their balance sheets and their bank rating). I think we have 18 months before we really hit "bottom" and see some stablization in the real estate market.

That's why I'm kinda desperate to see Permies snap these places up. The prices are reachable for many of us and the effect on the community, at large, would be fantastic. SO... the take home message is come on a little north and be my neighbor.
 
Walter Jeffries
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william paulson wrote:I'm hoping to get some feedback from those of you that own your land as to what a reasonable price per acre is in today's real estate market.


This is one of those impossible questions. It varies not just with the region, state, county, town but with the specific property. Some properties are worth (sell for - willing buyer, willing seller) over $1,000,000 per acre while others in the same town might be worth only $500/acre. You really have to have apples to compare with.

That said, our property is valued at about $1,500 per acre by the town assessors. But some acres I've been offered $50,000 per acre (fantastic views, southern exposure, good road, utilities, excellent soils). Others I probably couldn't sell for even $1 (middle of the swamp under the high tension power poles). Good thing I'm not looking to sell.

So, which acre are you asking about? Be very specific. You really have to have apples to compare with.

Then there is the whole question of what you're going to do with it and how much is it worth to you. Selling price only goes so far in 'value' definition.
 
Deb Stephens
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Wow! I'm thinking maybe we have really low land prices in my neck of the woods. (SW Missouri) Around here you can still get land for about $500 to $1000 per acre. If it goes up to $2000 you know it is good bottomland or has something on it. The best bet -- no matter where you choose to live -- will always be large acreages though. I have noticed a trend for a long while (and believe me I have looked at a lot of land in a lot of places -- including other countries). The trend is that the smaller the parcel the higher the price. Seems ridiculous to me, but for some reason, people do not want to invest in large properties, but would rather settle for some dinky little lot in a city. You should also look for what everyone refers to as "unimproved" land (meaning as Nature made it without the electricity, sewers, phones, wells, etc. that people always assume they need). In my opinion, that is the best sort, but to each his own. I would rather pay $500 per acre for 100 or more than 10 times that amount for a postage stamp sized city lot with all the amenities!

By the way, we paid $400 per acre for our place 20 years ago and we abut Mark Twain National Forest for the entire 1/2 mile border on our east side. Which means, we really have a great big piece of land to enjoy and only had to pay for 75 acres of it. What's more, we can walk to Bull Shoals lake and even see it from the top of the hill. Not a bad investment.
 
Susan Doyon
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Yes you have wonderful prices for land from a buyers point of view ( not so good for the seller )
here in south eastern MA farmland that is upland and close to roads even with no utilities or sewer hookups can go 20,000 to 30,000. per acre much higher for a single lot that is perk-able and often if the farmer is keeping part of the property the property never is actually up for sale , arrangements are made the terms are hashed out such as rights to timber and stone , and then when the deal is right a P+S with out the land ever going up for sale publicly usually if the land was in a farm or forestry tax program the town has to be given the right of first refusal . ( we have a parcel such as this and for us it was very important to control what would go on the land , )
sue
 
Destiny Hagest
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This is something I've really struggled with - years ago we decided we wanted to buy raw land to start making our off the grid dream home happen, but we were living in the southern Indiana area, and it was just impossible to find something rural enough. It seemed like everything that was far out enough for us was riddled with sheer hillsides and sinkholes.

We did find a couple of plots under 20 acres that were around $2,000 an acre, and those were completely raw, but had some kind of crazy issue - one had this random sheer drop off about 1/3 of the way into the property.

I've head a lot of really good things about this book: Mortgage Free! Innovative Strategies for Debt Free Home Ownership - it's definitely on my soon to read list. There's actually a Permies review thread of it here, and it seems like it's a great place to start with keeping debt at a minimum with home ownership, and that's our biggest goal, personally.

I will say, another thing you should think about before you count any properties out is how you can work with what you've got in terms of topography. In hindsight, that sheer drop on that one property - though a daunting 20 feet, may have been workable, and it's possible we could have turned that into the starting point for a wofati style structure by just building into that area.

Understand earthworks and water flow is something I never really considered in those early days, but now it seems as critical as any other aspect - knowing what I can and can't work with. Paul's World Domination Gardening DVDs cover swales and ponds as a means of water catchment and diversion.



And then of course mike oehler's $50 and Up Underground House book has proven to be an invaluable resource for us. If you like that sort of thing



I still feel like I have heaps and piles to learn about, not the least of which is the buying process itself, but more and more I'm finding the price of land is relative to what I can do with it. If I can build my house for basically nothing, then I can afford more that may require less work. But if the land is pretty inflexible, I'll probably wind up being pretty limited in what I can build, and may have to spend more in the long run on construction.
 
Kyrt Ryder
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I'm searching for land in a comparatively expensive region [the wet side of Washington State] and I won't pay more than 2,000 per acre for unimproved land [ideally significantly less.] In more marginal territory [for example the desert southwest] I definitely wouldn't pay more than 1,000 per acre.

Granted, I *am* looking for large land [in excess of 40 acres] which does have a tendency towards better cost per acre. A certain degree of this works even for homesteads with no intention of running a farm. 20 acres is nearly always better than 5 [though in my climate 5 can fairly comfortably feed a family if well-managed] unless one really needs to be especially close to a major metropolitan area or would feel some sort of compulsion to meticulously manage every acre [rather than filling the bulk of it with orchards [or Forest Gardens] or pasture or silvopasture
 
Todd Parr
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Unless you are willing to buy at least 80 acres here, the going price is $3000 an acre.
 
Andrew Morse
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California is out of control with real estate... That said here's my observations.

My cousin in Redding, CA is a real estate agent, soon to be broker. I own land in Nor-Cal and have done property preservation on foreclosed and probate housing all over the area. And I have a friend who is closing on a house Friday. In all of that exposure to real estate around here I come away with this. Permaculture folks have a real advantage in purchasing real estate because we are able to see a piece of land for its potential regardless of things conventionally percieved as lowering the value. For example, I've seen $1Million homes on half acre minutes from a 400 acre property with two year round spring fed lakes with no home for the same price. Most of us can't spend that kind of money on real estate, but can you imagine how easy the choice would be if a permaculture person had those resources available? Let me scale it down some to the working class level. There are homes in somewhat remote rural villages around here with 2bd 1bath on like 1/8 acre and the bank wants $50K cash or it goes to auction. On the other hand my area is 30 minutes from Redding (pop. 90,000) 20 minutes from the post office in Bella Vista (pop.3,000) and not on the map. And properties here? A flat ten acres with no house, $70K. A steep 15 with no house, $50K. With things like terracing, building, forest gardening, etc in the permaculture toolbox these issues that bring the value of a piece of land down are almost welcome if in fact they do reduce the cost to us.

That's where I'm at with it. Or better stated, I would guide you in the direction of buying more rural land, still close enough to town with "issues" that can help lower the cost and then use permaculture practices to turn it into your paradise.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Since in my day job I'm an Arkansas Level 4 (senior) Appraiser, I think I can give some advice on this subject.

There are several different types of land, each with its own valuation process.

Commercial Land is land that is for business use it will have the highest per sq. ft. value. I've seen this type go for as much as 1,000,000 and acre. and the value per acre does not drop by volume buying.

Residential Land is what you find in most housing developments, price is set by roads, water, electricity, sewage availability and type of houses built in the development. High end homes mean high end prices.

Rural land is "out in the country" living, prices will be lower depending on utility services available if you have all the utilities (like in a housing development) expect a higher price.

Farm Land is land with a history of being used for food production, this is lower in price than Commercial land but is usually priced at a higher rate than Rural Land.

Timber Land is land expected to have harvesting of trees going on, again it is lower in price than Commercial land but profits can be made so it will be higher in price than Rural land.

Location is always a key factor this can be broken down into State, County divisions. Land in California, New York, and other high density states will be higher than states with fewer people per sq. mile.

Suitability of land for use type is also a factor. Swamps and wet lands will be priced lower than pasture, or crop field land. Mountainous land will also be lower priced than flat land.

In most cases for 2016 land purchases, land that will be suitable for our particular uses will be priced from 2,000 to 5,000 per acre.
This is land that is: 1. undeveloped or "Raw" = no road in place, no electric in place, no water in place, no sewer system in place.
2. Marginal land = land on the cusp of being suitable for development. This would be land next to a swamp but not in it, land that has no flat area, etc.

Land prices are dependent upon several other things, such as; owner desire to sell, Weather history (in an area prone to floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and so on, prices should be lower than comparable land with out these hazardous histories).

Example: Where I live we have had two EF-4 tornadoes in a three year period, this has created a situation where many "buyers" are no longer interested in moving to the area. Land values are dropping because of this one factor.
The land surrounding our place had a 2008 value of 20,000 per 5 acres or 4,000 per acre. The current value of this same land is now 2,000 per acre.

Land value is very much location dependent, you can research values in your area by talking to a realtor or by going to the Assessor's office and asking one of that offices appraisers.
Keep in mind that Taxable value will be lower than Sale (Market) value but it should be within 20% of Sale or Market Value.
Researching Land Values is always the best way to make sure you aren't over paying for land.

Finding out of your state has a practice of selling tax delinquent land through a State Land Commissioner or other office is a great way to buy acreage on the cheep. Usually these sales are by public auction for a price close to the owed taxes+the assessor's valuation.
 
Peter Ellis
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As someone who has been watching the vacant land market in Southern Michigan for a couple of years now - it's crazy.
Prices vary immensely, from right around 2K per acre up to 10K or more.
Some of the variance appears to be driven by location, closer to larger population centers prices trend upward, but exceptions are conmon. I think one has to watch carefully for wetlands in SE Michigan and some prices reflect the limitations on use due to being wetland - but again, exceptions are common.
Many parcels for sale are "recreational" properties, considered best used for hunting and these tend to be lower priced. But again, only a tendency.
My wife and I are going out next week to look at properties. We hope to find something we can work with for under 4K per acre. Lodgings we have been getting show this is possible, but perhaps not easy.
 
Deb Rebel
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In-town land without buildings runs about $20,000-25,000 an acre, with buildings it can be $100-150 thou. (I have gotten control of two acres and have buildings on all of it). It is taxed at about $5000 an acre value with no buildings. Out of city limits it falls to $4000-5000 an acre, and open land can go as low as $400-1000 an acre (you'll be buying probably a section or 640 acres) and upper value is if there is a well. Our water table shifted from 180 to about 210 feet, and it is really expensive if you have to have your well redrilled or a new one punched. A farmstead that has a habitable house (1-5 acres, usually around 3) and a few buildings and a well goes for about $150-250k. This is the panhandle and dustbowl so you will have to deal with average sustained wind of 25mph, if you crop it has to be low-till to the extreme or the wind will take it to the caliche or deeper. We can have burn ban issues (so dry that a small thunderstorm you are more worried about how many fires the lightning will start versus what rain you'll get out of it) and we do get tornados but not like downstate. Trees have a harder time than average getting established here, it is some work and maintenance to do so. We are very rural and very agriculturally based with a small population as well. Location and perceived value makes a lot of difference. Our county is 6a to 6b and altitude; so not the easiest microclime. My choice was farmstead or in-city, I chose in-city because it is a bit easier to exist. The difficulty was getting enough land to get your neighbors at elbow's length and enough to do something with.
 
Jonathan Burger
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My wife and I just bought land in the Columbia River Gorge. Its about seven miles out of town off a paved road. South facing gentle slope, half woods, half field, undeveloped. $6400 / acre
 
Deb Rebel
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Land value is very much location dependent, you can research values in your area by talking to a realtor or by going to the Assessor's office and asking one of that offices appraisers.
Keep in mind that Taxable value will be lower than Sale (Market) value but it should be within 20% of Sale or Market Value.
Researching Land Values is always the best way to make sure you aren't over paying for land.

Finding out of your state has a practice of selling tax delinquent land through a State Land Commissioner or other office is a great way to buy acreage on the cheep. Usually these sales are by public auction for a price close to the owed taxes+the assessor's valuation.


Here things do go up because they have back taxes, a lien, and/or defaulted on mortgage. However usually they set the bids at all of the back owed (they may have tacked personal taxes on there as well) so minimum bid is often at close to 'retail' value to even start. I have been to a few in-town land sales (property taxes) and those got pretty crazy. Depends on who wants it and for what. A rare case is someone walking out with a 25x120' undeveloped lot for around $200, usually that lot will go for a good five times that or more (I watched one were the house and front yard to the width of the house was the only thing the family had mortgage on, and all around it was three separate properties and it got bid through the ceiling. I even helped the couple's mother on backing her bid and she still got outbid without even blinking. The couple later settled with the one that bought all three parcels and had to second mortgage to get control of three sides of their house, it was crazy).

So. I have learned that if they have about 40 properties and the clerk's office gets more than ten people in there, you're going to lose probably. And they require cash in your pocket to bid or a certified check. Check carefully and don't be surprised if you go to a tax auction, sheriff sale on the steps of the courthouse, or likewise.
 
Gerald Henderson
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Thanks for posting this, I appreciate the conversation here. Although it is hard to pin down with all of the variables, there is good general advice to be found in this thread
I too am looking for land around the Grand Rapids area and would love it if anyone had specific feedback on the surrounding bioregion. We are looking for something close enough to commute to the city for a few more years before establishing our homestead/farm/home business. Specifically, we have been looking at Lowell, Sparta, and Sand Lake recently, but are open to pretty much anything in the area. We would also be interested in starting a bit of an intentional community in the area so if anyone knows if this already happening or would be interested, please let me know!
 
Sue De Nimh
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4 years ago, we bought at $1300/acre in Northern Wisconsin (zone 4a) when the market was close to bottomed out. Assessed value for taxes was in line with what we paid. On a paved and plowed county road, classified as rural land, no structures, the soil is silty sand with frequent rocks (standard Wisconsin glacial till), wooded, aspen/balsam fir in the drier part and muck (the actual soil classification) with black spruce and alder shrub (classified as wetland) in the back. We will definitely need to use sepp holzer type methods to get food out of it. Right now it is decent hunting land, though the wildlife is quite wiley, so vegetarianism would be an enforced option if we were to depend on the land alone to feed us.

As we were looking, there were other properties available-the adjacent 40 acres were sold at $10K more just because they had a trailer with a deck and electric brought in about 30 ft to pole with RV connection. The purchasers ended up replacing the trailer (it was full of mold). I couldn't understand the logic of paying that much extra for a moldering trailer-and we ended up having a local Amish guy build us a barebones 12x20 cabin that met the building code for seasonal dwelling for $5K. No mold, doors front and back and I added screen doors the next summer-I love the place. The township reassessed all the properties last year-since we put a structure on it, it falls under a new classification and the assessed value went up $10K. We also looked in southwestern Wisconsin-the price per acre was $3-5K-which meant smaller property and no better soil. And more people.

Other factors worked into our purchase decision-the adjacent county had a property we almost bought-then I discovered we could not dig a privy unless we replaced it with a permanent septic system or holding tank within 3 years. Our county has no problem with us digging permanent privy, and if we drive a well-point ourselves, we can have a hand pump. This allows us to take our time transitioning to permanent habitation without large expenditures of cash early in our ownership to make it happen.

Most counties in our state have their land records accessible on-line and one can access assessed valuations that way. Our adopted county has very nice people in the land and permitting offices, and the township board of assessment agreed with out petition to have the wet half of the property assessed as wetland, which offset the increase in value from the change in classification. One can also find on-line maps of soils for a prospective property at NRCS Web Soil Survey with some estimates of suitability for septic or building-though I can tell you for our property at least, all the unsuitable rating means is it will cost a little more for septic, or a little extra care or constraint on building methods. One other constraint on what we can build is determined by the state building codes (and the county and township modifications to them). Our county is pretty mellow about what you build, our current county is pretty snooty about it, so if the locality you pick has "keep the riffraff out" rules, doesn't matter how the land is priced, if you can't do what you want at your pace.
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Todd Parr wrote:Unless you are willing to buy at least 80 acres here, the going price is $3000 an acre.

I didn't see anything 2k per acre or under for sale right now [but I only made a brief search and the *best* searches are made using realtor software that one usually has to begin work with a realtor to gain access to, not something I'd have since my own search for land is elsewhere] but I *did* find one for 2.5k per acre at 5/8ths that size.

Right here. Now, there are obviously going to be issues with any 'cheap property' [and I haven't done any thorough research on the linked property at all, just read its listing there] but as mentioned above these are frequently things Permaculture can incorporate into the system as a whole rather than real losses.

EDIT: actually, going down in property size we get a 'better' deal, almost down to 1k per acre. In quotes because having a pond already on it means some portion of the property is probably Wetlands [though the listing doesn't mention wetlands and other listings I've seen on that site did.] Regardless, Here's the proof
 
Elizabeth Basden
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I inherited the small under 100 acre family ranch, but I do have an opinion for you. Buy now. We have no idea what the future holds. Get a small starter property that you can pay cash for now. This doesn't need to be the place of your dreams, but if the bottom falls out, you will have a place to call your own to go to and garden, maybe raise some small farm animals. Buy something that is fairly easy to drive to from where you are currently living and working, no more than about 3 hours. You can place a mobile home to live in if there is no house. Our place is over 100 years old and there were no livable buildings. They had all been trashed. We started with one building about 200 sq ft to get livable that was 3 walls, no doors, no windows, no roof. It was just a shell, but now it's charming accommodation that we stay in. Start small, you can always move up if the economy cooperates. Drive country roads to find seemingly abandoned properties where the grown kids moved away with no intention of living in the country. Try to buy a couple of acres around a house. I see such places all the time. Watch the TV rehab shows to believe that any place can be restored to a livable state. I would buy a property that is income producing such as grazing, agriculture, hunting, fishing, where other people pay you. Good luck! You won't regret making a decision to go ahead now and buy land. Start small, practice permaculture, don't fall in love with the property, then move on if you want to.
 
Frank Turrentine
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I've got fifteen acres with river frontage on a major Texas river. My dad paid $2250/acre for it in 1985. I've got it on the market right now for $13000/acre.
 
Frank Turrentine
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all I can say is, what a country
 
Karen Crane
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Reply to the man near Redding . I live "near" Corning, about an hour plus from Redding.
Would like to talk to you about properties in /around,.or not even in the area.
I have looked in New Mexicoas well as northern Michigan. So far not found "home".
Want o move. Right now have 2 acres with older mobile in Rancho Tehama.
Biggest issue, cant seem to get reliable phone service and huge drop off
and slope filled land. Looking for something better in my budget ( low).
Please contact me at transformnow99@gmail,com
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 118
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Here in Halibut Cove, there is currently a one acre property with a decent, large house listed at $565k, there are 5 acres on the 'dark side' (we have mountains to the south so some areas get more months of shadow than others) listed for about $200K, no structures and boat access only. i may get a special 'neighbor deal' for 50k one acre with no improvements and no grid power. its the roughly circular peninsula lower right in the foto
corels.jpg
[Thumbnail for corels.jpg]
 
Rebecca Hyde
Posts: 8
Location: Woodstock, CT
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Here in NE CT I'm seeing $3 - $5,000 for open acreage. Larger parcels run cheaper. But the town appraisal starts with the fact that a buildable lot with frontage has a minimum of 2.5 acres (smaller lots exist but that's the minimum for new development) so anything with frontage will have that lot figured in at $70,000. And anyone developing a larger parcel now has to put about half of it into open space. But there's been very little development activity since the 2008 crash in the market, people are sitting on parcels all over town. And we have old farming families with 100+ acres dying out, those parcels tend to be bought up by rich folks who want an estate. Which is a bit sad.

Remember that even if you get a good deal and proceed to build your own home, you'll be taxed based on market rates and the market value of the home you built.

All that said, my question is: what's it worth based on it's productivity? The state open space program puts a value on forest, pasture, tillable, and orchard land based on their estimates of what a farmer can make off of the land in income. $40 for swamp, $90 for pasture, $750 for orchard, $225 to $2400 for tillable according to quality. You can read about their methods here: http://www.ctplanningforagriculture.com/pdf/Index_Guide_Pdfs/complete_490guide_cfba.pdf

Another valuation would be to somehow work in the value of the solar energy (and wind and water) that gets collected there, some sort of Howard Odum style thinking, somehow converted back into long term dollar cash flows.

There's land in my neighborhood I would love to see go to my view of highest use - regenerative agriculture as they call it these days -- but I couldn't buy it without going into debt, and I couldn't work it myself, so I can't decide if it's worth investing. Given those state valuations, I have my doubts. And in the future if we invested cash we'd need to get some cash back out for retirement needs. But, intuitively, it seems like owning land with biomass collecting solar energy and storing minerals etc etc is valuable. But how valuable? I suspect much of the value that farmers get out of land results from their labor and knowledge applied to what nature offers.

What do others thing about value from this perspective of inherent value, rather than from what its currently 'going for'?
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Rebecca,in your discussion of possible uses and returns, I think you have an excellent point. A distinction can be drawn between "value"- what a given piece of land can produce (with a broad understanding of 'produce' to include ecological benefits and other unmarketable bebefits) and "price"- what the market is prepared to pay in present dollars for the property.
Comparing these two is likely to give a person a headache, especially since higher price is probably linked to reduced value much if not most of the time.
 
Todd Parr
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Todd Parr wrote:Unless you are willing to buy at least 80 acres here, the going price is $3000 an acre.

I didn't see anything 2k per acre or under for sale right now [but I only made a brief search and the *best* searches are made using realtor software that one usually has to begin work with a realtor to gain access to, not something I'd have since my own search for land is elsewhere] but I *did* find one for 2.5k per acre at 5/8ths that size.

Right here. Now, there are obviously going to be issues with any 'cheap property' [and I haven't done any thorough research on the linked property at all, just read its listing there] but as mentioned above these are frequently things Permaculture can incorporate into the system as a whole rather than real losses.

EDIT: actually, going down in property size we get a 'better' deal, almost down to 1k per acre. In quotes because having a pond already on it means some portion of the property is probably Wetlands [though the listing doesn't mention wetlands and other listings I've seen on that site did.] Regardless, Here's the proof


My lady and I have been actively looking for a few months now. We are in mid to south west WI area. I'm leaning heavily in the direction of one we looked at last week. 60 acres, a small pond, several springs, 20 acres tillable of the 60, the rest hilly and mostly hardwoods, a small apple orchard and a big garden, and an older house. He is asking $275k and is willing to negotiate 15-20k from that. He values the land at around $2500 an acre. Most of those we have seen recently were anywhere from $3000 or so up to about $5-$6k for somewhat smaller acreages. A 3 acre spot right next to me is just a hill without a tree or anything else on it, and it sold for $7k an acre. That is largely location; we are in a farm area, but it's only 10 minutes from a town large enough to have a walmart, fast food, a couple hardware stores, etc. Being rural but with amenities nearby drives the price up.

You're right about the "wetlands". Most people here call it "swamp" There are those areas pretty near here. They sell much cheaper because you can't really do anything with them. I don't mind if part of the property is low, but if you can't walk around it without your feet getting wet the whole time, it would be hard to do anything at all with the land. The rules about building or changing wetlands here at all are strict, and wouldn't suit my needs anyway.
 
Frank Turrentine
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on the market less than a week, and someone just gave me full price cash for it today. I should be outta here by May 20.
 
Frank Turrentine
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I'm closing tomorrow morning. I've been here for thirty-plus years now. There is a dumpster out front, and I'm leaving in ten days. A year from now I hope to be on another farm twice the size of this one somewhere up north. I should be sad, but I feel like my entire life just opened up.
 
Deb Rebel
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Frank Turrentine wrote:I'm closing tomorrow morning. I've been here for thirty-plus years now. There is a dumpster out front, and I'm leaving in ten days. A year from now I hope to be on another farm twice the size of this one somewhere up north. I should be sad, but I feel like my entire life just opened up.


Congratulations. Nothing makes moving real like the skip dumpster. May the sky be the limit for you.
 
Kathy Ulrich
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My husband and I presently own approximately 11 acres of farmland in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  It was family land that's been passed down to us.  My husband and I don't live in NJ anymore and don't plan on returning so we want to sell the land.  However, no one has been able to tell us what a fair price is for the land.  Presently, we rent the land out to local farmers who mostly plant feed corn. Any one have any ideas?
 
Crystal Hochstetler
Posts: 4
Location: South Carolina, United States
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We just moved to NE GA.  We were wanting a little land, hopefully 20-30 acres.  We started in SC but prices close to the border were significantly higher and there were fewer options.  A friend connected us with a place that did not work for him.  He had seen it while listed in real estate and then pursued it after it was no longer listed.  We got 24 acres with a 1700 sq. ft. house for just under 150k.  The house was built in the 70's and had orginal everything except bathroom faucets, newer gas hot water heater, and five year old good quality metal roof.  We're talking dark paneling and 70's linoleum throughout the entire house, -remember those lovely greens and oranges?  I think that's why it didn't sell when he had it listed over 70k higher.  People couldn't get over it.  It's got a wood stove.  Initially we painted some walls and even the linoleum in the main room and now it's no longer depressing but very serviceable.  The expensive stuff is done; it's brick, new metal roof, the woodstove, some really key things.  In several years we update how we want starting with wood floors.  Here's the kicker, larger properties generally are less expensive as straight agricultural land is not worth as much.   The 83 acres next door went for just over 4k an acre; they are putting it into pasture, but can't put any chx houses on it -YES!  By waiting and watching the market for a while, we got what we wanted at a very good price for this area.  There is a creek that is not running above ground but still has water in it, in the middle of our current drought.  Lots of big,old trees along the creek.  Do we cut them or not for a pond?   Several other potential pond sites although not as good as creek.  Wild plums, persimmons, blackberries, pecans, and lots of birds, and other wildlife are present as well.  It even has a serviceable barn.  If you take your time and watch your area for a while, you may just get a very good deal.  Work with an agent and get them to put you on an e-mail notification list for properties that meet your must have specification list even if you are several years out and you may end up with a very good deal.  It's also a very good way of getting a feel for what land is going for in your area.  Be aware though, that asking price and sold price can vary greatly as there are some dreamers out there.
 
Nellie Stevens
Posts: 2
Location: Mountains of Western North Carolina
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I am absolutely amazed at these prices!  I live in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.  I recently inherited 6.5 acres of fenced-in pastureland when my father passed away last fall.  There is an underground spring-fed creek the entire width of the property.  As executor of his estate, I was required by the County Clerk of Court to have a Certified Appraisal done of all of my father's property.  This was required due to the wording of my father's Last Will and Testament that each daughter (heir) was to receive a fair and equitable distribution of the estate.  The tax value of the property which I received was $28,500 for the front acre (road frontage), classified by the county assessor as Residential, the remainder of the property was classified as open or raw land. The tax value of the remaining 5.5 acres was $10,000 per acre. (Everything was Zoned R3).  When I received the written Certified Appraisal for this particular parcel, the front 4 acres was appraised at $19,565 per acre.  The remaining acerage (2.5 acres) was appraised at $17,600 per acre.  This property is definitely in the country. It has been in my family for over 100 years.  It is totally organic.  It has always been used as pasture for cattle and pigs. In fallow years it was used for hay.  Some of the property in my father's estate was appraised for $22,000 and $22,500 per acre.  How can there possibly be such a difference in the value of farmland throughout this country?  I will admit, however that the soil on this property is rich and fertile....but I doubt the Appraiser knew that.
 
Crystal Hochstetler
Posts: 4
Location: South Carolina, United States
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At Nellie, I don't understand how the different prices work for the acreage and where the land is located, but I do know that sometimes appraisals can vary widely from what I would call the functional value of the land or what it is actually worth on the market.  To get a feel for what it would bring on an open market, and whether or not your appraiser was doing you justice, you need to have a realtor run a comp on what similar land has sold for in the last few months in that area.  Sometimes, you don't have the best comparisons but you can generally get a good feel for a land's worth.  My husband flips houses and we have had some (jerk) appraisers deliberately devalue a house by picking poor comps for the property and refusing to acknowledge the better ones.  (Goodbye $7k.)  We actually had one who got blacklisted by the bank as he'd pulled that stunt before.
 
Nellie Stevens
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Location: Mountains of Western North Carolina
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Hi Crystal! Thank you for your response. You make a very interesting point. The comparables used to determine the appraised value of my property were three properties all within 4 miles of mine.  One property was actually on the same road less than 3/4 of a mile from mine. It had sold within the year of 2015. I had the certified appraisal done in October 2015.  I read somewhere that if the tax value is $10,000 per acre, then one could simply add 20% to the tax value to reach a fair asking price.  I'm wondering if the area in which I live might be caught in some kind of "trendy" or popular place to live. It has been voted by several magazines as a high-ranking place to retire. It also is high on the list for wonderful year-round weather.  It just makes me wonder.  I was shocked to read this post and see what the price of farmland is in other areas of the country.  I spoke with a realtor friend recently and he thought I should ask more than it was appraised for.  I think I read you settled on northeast GA.  That area is absolutely gorgeous.  A bit more mountainous than where I live...a bit colder in the winter months, yet cooler in the summer months.  I'm just baffled and wonder what to do or like you mentioned...who to trust.  Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post. 
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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