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A request for help gathering info on properties NE TN

 
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My family and I are progressing closer to our goal of purchasing a property in NE Tennessee. We have some savings for a down payment. We've been to the area in question in general. We have tendrils out looking into land loans. What we don't have is a physical presence in the area. If I go down to look at properties in person again, I will eat into our down payment savings. When we went before, most of the properties ended up being far from what was promised when we went in person.

What I am hoping for is that someone or several someones who just happen to already be living in the area of the properties in question might be willing to go give them a look. See if they are decent and maybe get some real pictures instead of the 'best of the best' moments often put onto real estate websites. If you're willing to do so, I am going to post a few things we are wanting to verify below and then each post will have a single property we're currently looking into. If no one wants to or is able to, I understand, but if you do choose to help know that I am grateful for everything you are doing on our behalf.

Things we're looking at closely:
  • With properties listing water on site, is it really there or just some ditch beside a road?
  • Is there a spring you can find on the property?
  • How readily can one get to the location? (Some sites we visited had very winding one lane roads that went for miles and left no room to get around someone. Others had driveways that were impossible to even pull a car into.
  • Are there any obvious things to be aware of? (lack of flat areas at all, areas where frost or water tend to accumulate, overrun with poison ivy, etc)
  • What's the condition of any buildings on the property?
  • Any obvious neighbor issues? (one property already clarifies a neighbor issue. Ha ha.)
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    D. Logan
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    Location: Soutwest Ohio
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    Property 1

    https://www.landwatch.com/scott-county-tennessee-undeveloped-land-for-sale/pid/410059502?fbclid=IwAR2TFtLTCYc4Kxoe8t5gjohYjusnVH3a0U9IJSMH2V7QxgjU_CshFkh9vKg
     
    D. Logan
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    Posts: 1117
    Location: Soutwest Ohio
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    Property 2
    Pretty sure this one has a fairly steep entry off to one side.

    https://www.landwatch.com/johnson-county-tennessee-undeveloped-land-for-sale/pid/408679216?fbclid=IwAR2Hq-qauI5i0b9bMydkh4Rd-atqnNaSrCwehXzT3rVg0B_pueRXiYVVu2c
     
    D. Logan
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    Property 3
    This one isn't super clear if the stream they are showing is actually on the property or on the opposite side of the room.

    https://www.landwatch.com/jackson-county-tennessee-undeveloped-land-for-sale/pid/409267867?fbclid=IwAR19Sy1gz4Yise_sgVrwINJxIZXvDtS1ojA-HC5RX-UySTKhPXRA5EsZiIM
     
    D. Logan
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    Property 4
    This one seems like it has a spring happening, but it isn't super clear. Also the number of blowdowns concerns me about the likelihood of the soil giving way.

    https://www.landwatch.com/johnson-county-tennessee-undeveloped-land-for-sale/pid/337770562?fbclid=IwAR2q3MV1r4TEqBqd8hvaEtDAsolrDBUzYuYodsxDK6hGLCXTNt9w4Br9Fos
     
    D. Logan
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    Location: Soutwest Ohio
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    Property 5
    They claim there's no spring on this property, but one picture looks for all the world like a spring. I am very curious if a spring might be connected to the flowing water on the property and they just didn't realize what it was.

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/582-Shanks-Gap-Rd-Rogersville-TN-37857/41532917_zpid/?fbclid=IwAR2QlbD9ZRrLt2UqfDC3vBMVMBdG8oogyES0WMq2ZF_f8yOCrbj0I5jI5N0
     
    D. Logan
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    Just giving this a small bump going into the weekend to get a few more eyes on it.
     
    master steward
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    D, since you ask for help I would like to offer some suggestions.

    Find a local real estate salesperson in the middle of the area you are looking at. Find someone who sells rural land.  The reason I make this suggestion is that you need someone to represent you. Not a salesman you find on Landwatch or Zillow. Call the Chamber of Commerce to recommend someone who sells rural land.

    Tell this person what you are looking for, what you want, and the listing that you are looking at.  Ask if they will help with your search.

    I only liked the second property and I am not sure about that.  What I did not like about it is the $87.00 a year for taxes.  Probably you have to qualify for an ag tax or some sort of exemption.

    Do you plan to be off-grid? If not it will be very expensive to hook up to electricity.

    That is a beautiful part of Tennesse.  I have visited many times.
     
    D. Logan
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    Anne Miller wrote:Do you plan to be off-grid? If not it will be very expensive to hook up to electricity.



    We are most likely going to be off grid, unless a location already starts with electric. I'd love to set up a small hydro electric setup if the water flow of a property is strong enough.
     
    Posts: 24
    Location: Bought the farm and moved from Maine to western tip of Virginia.
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    Hi, D,

    Unless you've bought and sold a few properties on your own, I have to agree with Anne, you need a buyer's agent to look after your interests.

    Just looking at the pictures of these 5 properties, I don't think any of them are suitable for homesteading if you want gardens, orchard, or any kind of livestock.  The water features (pond or creek) are all at the lowest part of the lots and it is mostly steep hills above them with hardly any land flat enough for a homesite and yards, gardens, or pastures.  Just excavating a road in to terrace a small area for building will be expensive and time-consuming.  Even finding an excavator willing to do the job might be an insurmountable obstacle.  You'd have to cut down a lot more trees if you want to go solar.  I don't know much about using hydro-power.

    I have 30 acres in SW Virginia (sandwiched between east TN and east KY) on a south-facing slope with 2 terraces for the house and the barn, and even the 10 acres that were cleared and in pasture when I bought the place in 2019 are too steep for my tractor to cross on contour.  I've already rolled it once while grading the road up to the barn.  Not fun.  Thankfully I had my rollbar up and seatbelt on so I wasn't thrown off and crushed.  I'm currently looking for a flatter farm but not finding much of that in this region.  Worse in hilly KY and northern east TN.

    All of these lots have a lot of downed trees to remove and not much left of marketable timber to use for building, mostly young spindly trees competing for sunlight.  And most of the downed trees won't even make good firewood.  With that much moss, they are bound to be punky to half-rotted, probably will break apart when you try to drag them down the hills.  Best use of them is probably hugelkultur, but not without terracing the hillsides like Sepp Holzer in Austria.  Lots of large boulders to deal with too.  Not only on the surface but under it as well.

    There are plenty of reasons that these lots are inexpensive.  Their owners couldn't do anything with them so carved them out of their bottomland farms to sell to some other sucker to recoup part of their investment.

    I do wish you luck finding a workable piece of land.  Took me a year to find this run-down old horse farm, and everything I've looked at since makes me grateful for having it.  Prices have really jumped up in the past year and a half even for the so-called bargains.  So don't rush it.  Now and then someone will get desperate to sell, like this seller had, and drop the price right into your range.
     
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