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DeLaney Becker-Baratta
Posts: 40
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Hello fellow Michigan permies, I have been on the lookout for cheap land close to Grand Rapids. For anyone who has purchased land what were your experiences? How many acres did you purchase? Did you find it was better to browse the area by car or by the web? I've been looking at sites like craigslist and Zillow but their land availability is spotty at best. Also I am concerned with the trend towards fracking on public land and have heard of a new law passed recently allowing the oil & gas companies eminent domain on private property if there are prospects. Anyhow thanks in advance for the responses.
 
Mike Cantrell
Posts: 555
Location: Mid-Michigan
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bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
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DeLaney Becker-Baratta wrote:Hello fellow Michigan permies, I have been on the lookout for cheap land close to Grand Rapids. For anyone who has purchased land what were your experiences? How many acres did you purchase? Did you find it was better to browse the area by car or by the web? I've been looking at sites like craigslist and Zillow but their land availability is spotty at best. Also I am concerned with the trend towards fracking on public land and have heard of a new law passed recently allowing the oil & gas companies eminent domain on private property if there are prospects. Anyhow thanks in advance for the responses.


In December 2012, I bought a foreclosed house and five acres near Jackson, for a little under $45k.

The house, depending on your taste, was almost livable: all it needed was a heating appliance.

But I ended up replacing the flooring, painting the walls and ceilings, adding a woodstove, replacing the plumbing supplies, bathroom fixtures, water heater, and water softener, and replacing the front door and the roof. It still needs trim, a back door, and exterior paint before it's respectable. (Then I can finally get to the fun stuff like a conservatory, wine cellar, etc, etc. )

In the last 14 months, prices have gone up just a hair.
The way we found this place was, we talked to a realtor and had her set us up an automatic email search. Anything under a certain price, with some bedrooms, some acres, and in two counties, it sends us an email. So I drove over to see this one, liked it, made an offer in a day or two, and got it. I hear that lots of other offers came in right behind ours, so if we hadn't been quick on the draw, we might have missed our chance.
That's what worked for us, but there are certainly other way to skin this cat!

Mike
 
Mori no Niwa
Posts: 27
Location: Van Buren Co., MI
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Hello. I'm in SW MI, west of Kalamazoo. I was looking at land and houses a lot in 2009-10, and am still somewhat following the market around here. At that time there were a lot of foreclosures that went pretty cheaply, and there are still some around. I got a foreclosed 900sf house in a small town (1/5 acre lot) for $25k...the house is nothing special, but was liveable. I also got a good deal on land from a family member, I got 3 acres for $10k, though it was pretty poor land (dry, sandy soil and flat terrain with no improvements, i.e. water, electricity, sewer, etc.), that's about a mile away from my house in the same town. I plan to eventually build at the 3-acre site. I occasionally see land offered on sites like Realtor.com or Zwillow, but it's also good to check the local Craigslist (I usually searched for the term "acres" in the Housing section) and classifieds. Are you already around GR or trying to shop remotely? Driving around the country is also a good method to find stuff that's not advertised elsewhere.

The fracking trend is very disconcerting, there seems to be more of it farther north in the state, but recently the Allegan State Game Area (the county north of me) has been considered for fracking, and that's pretty close for comfort. I know the closer you get to a bigger city the fewer options there are (thanks to sprawl), and more cost; so it's kind of a catch-22 where you'll probably have to live a good distance outside GR if you want to find a great deal, though if you're willing to live in a marginal/sketchy neighborhood in the city (sometimes on large lots; some friends of mine got a nice old Victorian in a so-so part of Kzoo with an acre of partially-wooded land for around 80k), I'm sure there are good older houses at decent prices.

One other option is tax-sale auctions; they only have these once or twice a year but you can get land cheaply if others aren't bidding it up. https://www.tax-sale.info/ A parcel near me of 15+ acres went for about $25k, though it's mostly forested land within the village limits of my town, so you can't hunt there, and the land is also a bit swampy (as much cheap land around here tends to be), so its usefulness is limited for many applications.

Best of luck!
PJ
 
Jenna Sanders
Posts: 54
Location: Michigan, zone 5
4
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Mu husband and I drive through Baldwin (Lake County) all the time and they always have acreage for sale...think 80-100 acres for 50 or 60k. I have no idea of the condition of the land, but there is a lot of poverty in that area as well as National Forest land. I think it will still be about an hour from GR, but for that price it may be worth checking into.
 
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