Land Specs, More Ideas: : LUSENET : A place to put our books, and make good music : One Thread

This past weekend, I visited my cousin Jamie. A little over a year ago, he bought some acreage in southern Maryland, less than one mile from the Potomac River and the Virginia border. It was fascinating, enlightening, encouraging, and comforting to see the land and the home he built on it, and to hear that he has actually done some of the very things I'd considered as ideas to help defray the costs of establishing the collective- and they have worked for him. Here are some facts: * He bought 78 acres. For this, he paid $200K. So, not quite $2,600 per acre. Not bad at all. * Land in the New England area will be, as a general rule, less expensive than this. I'm speaking in terms of the more rural areas; obviously this isn't true for the Boston suburbs or waterfront property on Lake Champlain. * Banks and mortgage companies are not used to dealing with this much acreage, and it tends to confuse them, apparently. Jamie went through a farm bureau, and got a much better deal in doing so. * Immediately after purchasing the land, he sold (selectively) the timber rights for only a portion of the land. The timber company was very careful and considerate. I walked the land, and saw the roads they had cut across a few hillsides (which were already filling in with new growth), but nowhere did I see the carnage or chaotic destruction so often wreaked by timber companies; there was no clear-cutting, no wanton wasting, no lasting damage to the land. The companies came in, harvested a few of the trees, and left as little impact as possible. It would be crucial to find a timber company as conscientious as this one was, but it would be worth our time. For the few trees they took - and I have to say 'few' because I really saw no gaping holes, no clear cutting, no notable absence of the trees other than the roads - he netted $80K. So, that effectively dropped the price of the land to $120K for the 78 acres. That's down to under $1,550 per acre, effectively. * Just off the main road, and before you reach Jamie's house, a second house is being built. For himself, Jamie and his brother built a log cabin - it's beautiful, but very distinct (and by the way, they saved a lot of money by doing what work they could do by themselves, without the cost of additional labour). Up the road, the home is going to be a more modern, typical two- or three-bedroom home. And they plan to rent it out. I don't know the going rate for rent in that area of Maryland; it's pretty rural, but DC is only about 40 minutes away, if that. I do know that if Jamie charges a rent of $800, he'd be making $800 / month and would also be giving someone a very good deal. I think he could probably get about $1K / month from renting it out, and perhaps more than that. * There are palonia trees (AKA paulownia, poulownia) growing on the land. These are fast-growing, broad-leafed trees that are apparently pretty hearty and easy to transplant. People pay about a hundred dollars for small ones. People have even trespassed on Jamie's land for the purpose of stealing these trees. Now, he occasionally pots one and sells it himself. This doesn't bring in a tremendous amount of money, but hey, $100 is a month's electricity or a week's groceries or a good chunk out of a mortgage payment.

-- Anonymous, September 07, 2001


This is obviously great. $200K is more than I'd want to spend, but otherwise, great ideas.

-- Anonymous, September 07, 2001

I agree; $200K is more than I'd want to spend, too. But three counterpoints: * Land will be less expensive in the northeast. * Timber, on the other hand, will be closer to the same price. Thus, we'd make (proportionally) more money back if we elected to sell off some of the timber. * Seventy-eight acres is quite a lot. We could get by just fine with a quarter of that amount, as long as it was what we were looking for, and in the right area. Twenty acres is still more than a plenty to build on - including a stage.

-- Anonymous, September 08, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ