I’ve had the fantasy of building on vacant land in the mountains, and just the initial research has been more of a PITA than I imagined. I’ve bought and sold a few houses in my time, but the individual effort required of a vacant land buyer seems much higher. I targeted 2 properties initially, but had significant questions about both. I learned WAY more about both properties than either the listing agent or the buyers agent helping me. Ruled out one due to expensive complications not easily found, and getting some key details on the other is like pulling teeth. Virtually all of the listing photos of the property I’'m still looking at were not photos of the subject property, and original directions to the property from the listing agent were wrong. Also no real estate sign there despite assertions that the sign is there and we need to look again. WTF. Currently dealing with an unresponsive public works official in the po on very important infrastructure questions.
I doubt the public works official is interested in whether I buy or don’t buy. He likely just doesn’t give a shit about answering emails. The agents of course don’t want to lose this deal, but aren’t too motivated to do much work. In particular, the listing agent has done a piss poor job on listing this property. I am being very careful, as obviously no one is looking out for my interests. I might even show up at the little municipal building and look for the public works office if he doesn’t answer me.
The buyers agent was trying to convince me that some of what I’m doing could be accomplished in due diligence. No thanks, there is some information I would like to verify before I consider making an offer. Lack of information will not induce me to make an offer, as unlike them I am willing to lose this deal.
I showed up at City Hall today and talked to a few folks. It was time well spent, as I got some clear answers that I previously just got some vague info on before.
Biggest issue is that the property does not have water service now and it is illegal to build a well. You can tap onto the city water system, but it doesn’t extend that far now and any extension is at the property owner’s expense. There’s much more detail that I am not sharing publicly.
Depending on how this plays out, I might consider this property again down the road if it’s still available. For now I’m out.
I know the right people to talk to in the city now, and I’ll keep looking.
I’d tell them that if I built the extension I’d own it. Anyone in between the water and me wishing to tap my pipe will have to answer to me.
However, I don’t think that is how things work. And that is why I wouldn’t want to be the first. Downside is you’ll have to wait for a developer putting in a thousand houses to offset the expense to do most of the work, but then you’ll live next to a thousand homes. Also, I’m guessing that this lowering of the expense would raise the value of the property you are seeking.
I’m still looking periodically. I walked a vacant lot today that I really liked, but unfortunately my research indicates they are asking way too much for it. It only takes one person to fall in love with it to make a sale, but it won’t be me at that price. I may tell the listing agent exactly that and share my research. I have the impression he knows, but is holding out for that one guy.