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Buying land out of state, Pros and Cons?


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There is a lot of info on this topic, but want to hear from someone who has done it.

Looking to buy land out of state, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, etc. to eventually build a home.

Does anyone have any experience of owning a property 1000 miles away. How do you manage the property when you're not there?

My first is thought is that you can't manage it when you're not there, but would like to hear any advice.

thanks, J

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I owned 53 acres in Virginia for a few years. I lived in NC at the time and went there almost every weekend. 

When i moved back to NJ I visited once or twice a year for the first couple years. When I didnt go there for a couple years a realtor contacted me to see if i wanted to sell which i did. Taxes were only a few hundred bucks a year. If its not close enough I wasnt going to use it. If you are retired maybe its different but working and trying to get time to travel 10 hours was not happening for me. So first i would think how often can you realistically get there. 

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I've been looking into property in NH for quite some time and have considered the pros and cons of it.  Rather than go through the pros, since most people have their own motivation, I'll go through the cons.

  • The property has very little value if you don't use it.  Why buy property you cannot get to or easily use.
  • If the property has a structure it needs to be maintained.  Things wear down, break, and people and pests will break into your structure if you are not there often or make your presence known.  Otherwise, you'll be spending a lot of money repairing things every year that you otherwise wouldn't have to if you lived there year-round.
  • Caretakers:  They are great until they stop caring.  It's your stuff, not theirs.
  • Infrastructure for your structure.  It can be very expensive getting utilities to that house you want to bury in the middle of 500 acres of land.  Vehicle access, telephone poles, and that's about all you're going to get in there.  If you have oil or propane, you're going to need to be able to get a truck back there to fill your utilities.  You're also going to have to maintain that road/driveway in.  You might not be able to get an Internet or a cell connection.  As inviting as that sounds, it starts to suck when you lose it.
  • Maintenance:  There's that word again.  As you get older, maintenance is going to suck more.  And the deeper you go into the woods, the harder it is.
  • Access to healthcare:  Most people don't consider this.  If you need to take care of yourself or need to see specialists, they may be hours away or in some case an overnight stay away.

One thing I was considering when I was looking to build in NH was to get enough land to put a rental cabin/house onto the property where I could rent it out to a full-time resident.  They would get a great place to live with a landlord who occasionally stays on the property, and they have a vested interest in taking care of at least their structure or others (such as a detached garage with snow-moving vehicles and a backhoe).

I am looking at property where the weather can destroy a structure in less than a decade.  So my main concern is taking care of the structure and access to the structure (and fixing any infrastructure that connects to it).

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41 minutes ago, 10deer said:

all is so true a 3 hour ride sucks after a while pa property

This is an excellent point.  I used to commute between NJ and McLean, VA, which is five hours one way.  It starts to wear on you after a while.  The property I am looking at in NH is seven hours away.  Do I realistically think I am going to drive 7 hours north every Friday after working all week and then turn around on Sunday late afternoon to drive back to NJ to work again?  Even doing that once a month will start to suck.

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29 minutes ago, Haskell_Hunter said:

This is an excellent point.  I used to commute between NJ and McLean, VA, which is five hours one way.  It starts to wear on you after a while.  The property I am looking at in NH is seven hours away.  Do I realistically think I am going to drive 7 hours north every Friday after working all week and then turn around on Sunday late afternoon to drive back to NJ to work again?  Even doing that once a month will start to suck.

Be like the rich folk - learn to fly, buy a Cessna, and fly in and out of Tetterboro to your chosen slice of heaven - you can probably get to the midwest or NH in a  few hours.

:bulb:

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1 minute ago, mazzgolf said:

Be like the rich folk - learn to fly, buy a Cessna, and fly in and out of Tetterboro to your chosen slice of heaven - you can probably get to the midwest or NH in a  few hours.

:bulb:

The place I am looking at has no airports.  Believe it or not, there are no planes in the night sky.  I live underneath one of the approaches to Newark airport and see planes every day.  Up in Pittsburg, NH, I don't think I've ever seen a plane in the sky.

I am buying lottery tickets this weekend because I otherwise approve of your idea.

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For me owning my own piece of property was one of the best things I've ever done. I remember the first deer season that I hunted on it was like I was in heaven . I kept waiting for the army of flashlights that happened every opening day, then realized hey I don't have to deal with that nonsense anymore ! It was now the way I always thought it should be and I NEVER take it for granted even after all these years. Planning and creating your own habitat is a great feeling , knowing you are leaving a legacy long after your gone . In short my life has been better because of the land I purchased !

There's a lot of good comments on this above , I'll just add try to keep it where you can reach it with a reasonable time frame. For me that was 3 to 31/2 hours . I know that leaves out the Mid-West but there's plenty of good hunting land available within that distance .

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I  just bought a property in Wicomico county MD. It's a 2 hour 45 minute drive.  So, I go down a fair amount....its a little long of a drive but not too bad.  But, I don't think I'll want to do that round trip many times in season.   

I have a trailer on site right now for me to stay in when I'm down there.  But, I am in the process of building a shed, insulating it, and connecting it to existing electric on site (there is already an electric connection on site).  I'll have heater and AC in it a cot etc...maybe a small fridge / fan / etc.   I didn't want to build a whole house or manufactured home....I just don't want to deal with permitting...stuff breaking.  My shed will be dry but I can bring my own water in a cooler.  I have a local company that will rent me a port-a-john for $95 / month including cleaning.  I'm going to do that from Sept - Jan.  If you don't have an electric connection you can set up some pretty good solar systems and combine with a small honda generator which can get you all the power you need (with propane heater).   You can go all out and build something nice, but then you gotta deal with more problems so consider shed / trailer / pole building.  

I think having a presence is important for trespassing purposes.  So you want to make it easy to get out there (and stay) a lot in the offseason so you'll go and people will see you around the property.   I have a local farmer that farms the property and owns adjacent land and he notifies me if anything is up.  He makes money off my land so he's happy to help.  I heavily posted and have a bunch of cell cams on access points.  I mean I posted the heck out of it.  No one can claim they didn't see a sign.  The cell cams are mainly security not for wildlife scouting.  I introduced myself to the few neighbors and established relationships.  Maryland is pretty strict with trespassing; esp for hunting.  It's not on the owner to post private property (although I did).  You have to have written permission on you when hunting private and it's like a $500 fine plus potential loss of  hunting privileges.  I plan on seeing if I can meet up with the local game official just to introduce myself so I have someone to call directly if I catch anyone.   I had a pic recently of someone walking onto the property and I can tell they turned right around when they saw the signs.  I think the former owner pretty much didn't watch the property.  

So, I guess my main point is the further away your property, the more you have to think about how often you're going to be able to get out and how you're going to deal with trespassing...esp if the former owners weren't active hunters.    

I know this all sounds like a hassle, but it's pretty awesome to have your own spot....I love going down and just doing projects from time to time.  Also, I found some public land nearby and I'm scouting that so I have some options when I'm down if things are happening on my farm or I want to give it a rest....

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