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Who has bought land, or something similar, sight unseen?

 
Posts: 22
Location: Maryland
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I was watching a video about how some people went through a company that was holding the land and selling it through a type of owner financed deal.

This was a family moving from the East to the Ozarks. They didn't like the parcel they bought and actually had three other options to choose from.

They took a road trip down to see the first one they bought, so it's not like they were completely locked in.

Has anyone done something like this or similar? Ever taken a leap to go anywhere only relying on pictures and information online?
 
gardener
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I can not imagine making such a purchase without walking the land first, that seems like pure folly to me.
 
pollinator
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Buying sight unseen via photos is common enough here in Hawaii. Some of the time the buyers are happy with their purchase. Other times they are aghast! It's not uncommon to see new people arrive here, then the house is in the market within 30 days.
 
steward
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I would only try it if moving to a place where the cost of the land is so low to my financial resources that I could easily adjust if I was disappointed.  In a way I'd be accepting risk to a small part of my massive finances to enable me to not spend any time on land selection.

I can't really see a case where I'd ever do it though.  If you have tons of money and don't mind blowing $300K on an estate you don't like in Costa Rica, why wouldn't you take a nice vacation there first and pick out your place instead?  Or if you don't have tons of money and are spending $5000 on a piece of land in Arizona sight unseen, I can very well see it ending in sadness.
 
pollinator
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I would absolutely not invest money/sign for land I had not set foot on. It could be next to a noisy airport or downhill from a mine and have toxic runoff or chupacabras or something. Or bad neighbors. Or really stinky water supply.
 
steward
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We bought 10 acres sight-unseen. We had only a photo of the neighborhood, not of the actual land.  I was delighted when I saw it for the first time, and I am even more delighted now that we have planted some things and installed some earth-works and fire-breaks. A few months later, we bought an adjoining 10 acres. There were other 10 acre plots nearby that we could have bought but didn't. They wouldn't have been nearly as nice as what we got. The price was right.
 
L Hodgson
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Location: Maryland
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:We bought 10 acres sight-unseen. We had only a photo of the neighborhood, not of the actual land.  I was delighted when I saw it for the first time, and I am even more delighted now that we have planted some things and installed some earth-works and fire-breaks. A few months later, we bought an adjoining 10 acres. There were other 10 acre plots nearby that we could have bought but didn't. They wouldn't have been nearly as nice as what we got. The price was right.



What helped you determine to buy this land with so few factors? Did you have someone go down on your behalf or no?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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L Hodgson wrote:What helped you determine to buy this land with so few factors? Did you have someone go down on your behalf or no?



The price was right. Basically we paid cash with pocket change, so no big deal if it didn't work out. We bought it sight unseen, direct from the owners. No agents, visitors, or realtors involved.
 
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read the sales document closely


usually there is a clause for final inspection

you can back out of a deal if an inspector that you hire finds something wrong


aka the "deal killer"

to back out of any deal
 
pollinator
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What is the reason for not looking? Every time you look at something you learn something. Why taking that unnecessary risk?
 
L Hodgson
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david james wrote:read the sales document closely


usually there is a clause for final inspection

you can back out of a deal if an inspector that you hire finds something wrong


aka the "deal killer"

to back out of any deal



That's a useful tip. It makes sense.
 
L Hodgson
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Angelika Maier wrote:What is the reason for not looking? Every time you look at something you learn something. Why taking that unnecessary risk?



This would be on the case of being far away from the land.
 
L Hodgson
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

L Hodgson wrote:What helped you determine to buy this land with so few factors? Did you have someone go down on your behalf or no?



The price was right. Basically we paid cash with pocket change, so no big deal if it didn't work out. We bought it sight unseen, direct from the owners. No agents, visitors, or realtors involved.



How long have you been doing Lofthouse since then?
 
steward
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Looking at land online has been sort of a hobby for me for many years. I have learned over the years that there are folks who are honest and some who are a little bit dishonest. The honest ones buy and sell land for a living. They try to be honest, as an unhappy customer could hurt their business. Others do not seem to care... for instance I see some folks who sell land in the "deserts" of Wyoming who post pictures of the mountains with trees and flowing water. Others give the wrong locations on their Google map links. Some of the folks who sell in Wyoming and Montana have been buying and selling the same pieces of land , over and over again , for many years. They will finance land and then foreclose when payments are not made. Then resell to the next poor person who dreams of owning land but cannot really afford it.

So finding a seller who will answer any and all of your questions is usually a good sign. I usually go to the local county assessor's website and look for the GIS maps. Then verify ownership and location. This also helps give you an idea of value and taxes paid. If you can use the technology that is available on line now a days you can get pretty close to "seeing " what you are buying without seeing it.

One thing you could also do is to ask here at permies if there is anyone in the area that you are interested in, and seeing if they know more about the land. Or even if they would look at it for you.

I have purchased land without seeing it first but I had a really good idea of where it was and what it looked like. It was to good of a deal to pass up and I resold it latter for a small profit. I paid extra for title insurance and passed that along to my buyer.

Where are you looking and who is the seller, if you do not mind me asking?
 
L Hodgson
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Location: Maryland
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Miles Flansburg wrote:... for instance I see some folks who sell land in the "deserts" of Wyoming who post pictures of the mountains with trees and flowing water. Others give the wrong locations on their Google map links. Some of the folks who sell in Wyoming and Montana have been buying and selling the same pieces of land , over and over again , for many years. They will finance land and then foreclose when payments are not made. Then resell to the next poor person who dreams of owning land but cannot really afford it.

So finding a seller who will answer any and all of your questions is usually a good sign. I usually go to the local county assessor's website and look for the GIS maps. Then verify ownership and location. This also helps give you an idea of value and taxes paid. If you can use the technology that is available on line now a days you can get pretty close to "seeing " what you are buying without seeing it.

One thing you could also do is to ask here at permies if there is anyone in the area that you are interested in, and seeing if they know more about the land. Or even if they would look at it for you.

I have purchased land without seeing it first but I had a really good idea of where it was and what it looked like. It was to good of a deal to pass up and I resold it latter for a small profit. I paid extra for title insurance and passed that along to my buyer.

Where are you looking and who is the seller, if you do not mind me asking?



These are some good suggestions, to collaborate with people and crowdsource info and help using forums like this.

I'll pm you.
 
L Hodgson
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David Longenhagen wrote: I could easily see wind supplying the energy to compress the air, allowing about 1.5 gallons of water per hour. That said the heat of compression being usable, and the cooling of releasing compressed air being also usable. I am surprised at the lack of depth on the subject.
However it may be that the technical aspects are not realized? From what I have seen many people are smart but few have refrigeration permits, equating in that knowledge group of heat, latent heat, compressibility, and humidity as a source of water.
In general water from compression is taken to be a “nuisance” VS a usable commodity.
Thoughts?



I'm not quite sure some of what you're referring to. Are you talking about having an atmospheric water generator?
 
Mike Jay
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I've asked David if he could start a new thread on the windmill/refrigeration concept in the Alternative Energy forum.  We'll put a link in here for those who'd want to discuss that since I believe it's important but slightly off the original topic.
 
gardener
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When we were house and land hunting, our agent had Virís as the last to see and I was dead against it. It looked like everything I was trying to avoid. But hubby said as were were out viewing for the day we might as well go.  I hated the house. I loved the views! The land was perfect. I looked at the house again and all of a sudden I could see it renovated and decorated and.......we bought it. Never regretted it despite floods and dodgy builders.  I would never have bought it from just the agents details. It is the only place I want to live and I hate leaving it for any length of time.
Always take the time to view all the available properties. Always visit in winter. If you dont like it then, you never will. There are others who come here not having seen the properties and end up so miserable despite loving the area. So sad.
 
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Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:When we were house and land hunting, our agent had Virís as the last to see and I was dead against it. It looked like everything I was trying to avoid. But hubby said as were were out viewing for the day we might as well go.  I hated the house. I loved the views! The land was perfect. I looked at the house again and all of a sudden I could see it renovated and decorated and.......we bought it. Never regretted it despite floods and dodgy builders.  I would never have bought it from just the agents details. It is the only place I want to live and I hate leaving it for any length of time.
Always take the time to view all the available properties. Always visit in winter. If you dont like it then, you never will. There are others who come here not having seen the properties and end up so miserable despite loving the area. So sad.



Those are the houses I always look at. I never look at the expensive houses. My ideal house is small and run down. Why? Cheap and easy to renovate and fix up. The goal is that it will have 5-10 acres of land with it within a reasonable distance of amenities- 60-100 miles.
 
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I bought 15.25 acres sight unseen, was a little nervous but am very happy with it now that I've got to spend time on it.  I can't speak to everyone's experience with classiccountryland.com but mine was good.  I did do as much research as possible about area and everything first.  

Also I make no recommendation just sharing experience.
 
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We bought ours, sight unseen, from Dignam Corporation, here in Canada. They're reputable, been selling land by catalogue (pieces of paper stapled together) for around a century, so we felt pretty comfortable with them as sellers. They're very straightforward and easy to deal with, no hidden costs or any sleazy tactics. They provide lots of photos, surveys, data to go with it. We didn't go see it first because it was too far away to nip over for a speculative visit, but golly, the price was right. Super cheap. That was 20 years ago. Now that we're edging towards retirement age (minus the retirement income), we've started the building process (going with cordwood - land's got lots of softwoods - too many, needs thinning - perfect) on a piece of land we already own outright.

I think if you can confirm the seller's reputable, the price is too cheap to turn down, and you've done your research - why not?
 
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