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Researching Land to Buy

 
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Hi Everyone - new to this community

I currently homestead in the suburbs (Walnut Creek, CA), but looking to get more acreage and go more rural. I have got a list of considerations, but I am not sure where to go for some of the answers. Specifically:

- Rules for/against keeping animals on the property
- Check what types of building can be built on property

I am always open to suggestions. I am looking slightly north of Placerville, CA.

Many thanks,
Nick
 
pollinator
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If your land is zoned agricultural (usually over 10acres) you can keep any farm animal that you want. If you plan on getting exotic animal e.g a tiger, thats a whole other story, but even that can be done, I would however hire a specialist to help navigate that process. Once you have somewhere in mind you can look up the parcel info for zoning info. https://parcel.edcgov.us/

As long as you hire an engineer, you can usually build whatever you want, however you want. Your county uses IBC 2010. https://library.municode.com/ca/el_dorado_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT110BUCO_CH110.16UNBUCO

If you are a owner-builder, you normally don't need to hire as many if any state certified engineer. You just need to sign off on your permit/plans at the county office in person. Lastly it would seem that you are not allowed to drill your own well. https://www.edcgov.us/Government/building/Pages/permit.aspx
 
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Hi Nick, welcome to Permies! You've joined a wonderfully supportive community.

I can't help you with your specific location, but I do commend you for asking the right questions before you get too serious about a place. Thorough research can save on disappointments down the road.

One thing you should add to your list is how the county and state define a "legal fence." Yes, that's the term, and it applies especially to border fences. None of us want legal disputes, but if your fencing isn't what the authorities think it should be, you could run into problems, if say, livestock broke through the fence.

Please keep us posted on your progress. If you haven't found it already, do check out our homesteading forum for ideas and topics that may help you on your quest.
 
S Bengi
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I don't know about you specific location. But fees are also a huge cost that you have to factor in.

Here is a breakdown of the average costs of the steps involved in permitting, planning and preparation process:

Permits, fees and inspections: $4,000
Impact study cost, if required: $4,000
Architecture & site engineering fees: $5,000
City water hookup: $3,000 or Well: $9,000
City sewer hookup: $5,000 or Standard septic system: $8,000 or Engineered (mound) septic system: $15,000

Here are some more projected expenses. I wonder how it compares to what you have in mind.
$16,000 Site Work Everything needed to get started building a home, including building permit fees, water and sewer inspection fees, architecture and engineering plans.
$33,000 Foundations Excavating for and building the foundation, including cost of concrete and other supporting materials to build retaining walls.
$55,000 Framing Framing of the entire home including roof and trusses, as well as timber, steel and other materials required.
$43,000 Exterior Everything from windows and doors to finishing exterior walls with paint or siding, including weatherproof and cosmetic finish for the roof.
$38,000 Mech Sys All the plumbing and electrical except fixtures, as well as heating and cooling.
$86,000 Interior Insulation, drywall, painting, lighting, flooring, doors, mirrors, countertops, and cabinets. This expense also includes appliances, fireplaces, and fixtures for plumbing and electrical.
$20,000 Landscaping Landscaping/Orchard, decks, patios, porches and driveway, as well as overall site cleanup on completion.
 
Nick Candy
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Wow! Thank you all for the quick and helpful responses. I haven't broken down building costs in that much detail... this is super valuable to know. Currently I am really liking prefab homes - a model I like is $80K. I guess it would take another $100K to put it all together + foundation + other stuff... so with land all in ~$350K.
 
S Bengi
pollinator
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What do you think of this lot with a few farming structure
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4040-Tin-Ranch-Rd-Georgetown-CA-95634/195392278_zpid/

This one is 43acres for $200k. With a creek onsite
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/10380-Rock-Creek-Rd-Placerville-CA-95667/2082524498_zpid/

Barn:
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5180-Roquero-Cerro-Rd-Greenwood-CA-95635/2083134477_zpid/


Edited to add this one that is a lot closer to town, with a creek, 160acres for $340k
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/0-Mosquito-Rd-Placerville-CA-95667/2126082779_zpid/
 
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Nick Candy wrote:Hi Everyone - new to this community

I currently homestead in the suburbs (Walnut Creek, CA), but looking to get more acreage and go more rural. I have got a list of considerations, but I am not sure where to go for some of the answers. Specifically:

- Rules for/against keeping animals on the property
- Check what types of building can be built on property

I am always open to suggestions. I am looking slightly north of Placerville, CA.

Many thanks,
Nick


The information you're looking for, for anyplace in the USA, is going to be found by looking at three sources of information from three levels of government. Your local municipality where the land is located will have zoning regulations and likely building codes. The County will have building codes and potentially some regulations that will impact use of the property. The State will have regulations that may impact your use of the property. Some of these may appear in places you wouldn't expect, for example prohibitions on building within a certain distance of wetlands might not be in zoning or building code regulations, but turn up in wetlands regulations. You might find that your potential property is located in some sort of economic impact zone, with regulations that might make it more, or less advantageous for you to buy the property.

In addition to the items you've mentioned, make sure you investigate any easements that may apply to the property. In our case, the power company has an easement impacting our first 300 feet in from the road, for them to run the powerlines through. We're prohibited from building beneath their lines, and I'm trying not to put anything of permanence or value within that area. Why? Because they might decide to increase the size of the lines, poles and clearance that they're running through our land and we don't have a say, they've got an easement that allows them to do that. Plus access for maintenance.

Zoning might label an area as "residential" but allow farming including livestock, yet you may need to check other areas for the definition of "farming" that is being used
And if there's an HOA involved, well then there's that whole layer to deal with and I just urge people to never, ever, buy into one
 
pollinator
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What is a HOA ? please.
 
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Nick, welcome to the forum.

Over the years we have bought several properties that were raw land and several with an existing structure.

For us so far, the cheapest way to go has been to buy something that already has electricity, water, and sewer or a septic system.

Even if the property already has these, it is good to find out how much it will cost to get these services started or changed over to you.

John, an HOA is a Home Owners Association.  It is like having a board of director over a housing developemnet.

There are rules and regulation that say how or what a homeowner can or cannot do to their property.
 
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