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Old 05-16-2018, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Washington state
4,680 posts, read 2,299,411 times
Reputation: 13648

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After a couple months of looking for land, I need to ask a question: Why is land so hard to find and get information on?

I do understand that houses are by far the most common thing to buy in real estate, but why is land treated as such a poor relation? I noticed on many real estate web sites that land is sometimes not even offered as a search option and when it is, there is no way to put in the minimum or maximum acreage to look for. I would also get frustrated because I would see what would look like a nice piece of land only to not be able to find any info on it, like whether water was available, or whether there were connections to utilities, or if there were wetlands, or an HOA or a lot of times, even where the lot was.

I know most lots are probably not assigned addresses until they're developed, but honestly, is it that hard to find a plat map with a couple of nearby roads and pinpoint exactly where the lot is? I asked for a plat map once and got one from 1863 - I kid you not!

Yesterday I went searching for a lot that did have a plat map and the roads marked off. I not only couldn't find the lot, I also couldn't find the road it was on, OR the road that road was off. Obviously, that's a county issue, but the directions had me going to "XXX Rd which is also know as ABC Rd." Um, no it isn't. ABC was a road north of the main road and XXX was south of the main road.

Then there's a lack of knowledge about the cost of developing a lot. Of course, a lot depends on the area, the sort if topography the lot has, etc, etc, but I would hope that the agent would have some idea of where in the street (and what street) utilities are to be found and a basic guess at how much it would cost to run them into the lot.

Also if an agent is representing the owners of a lot, wouldn't it be to their benefit to also know of any HOA rules and costs that might impact future buyers? Or is it unrealistic to expect these things? I have to say that by this time, I pretty much know every lot for sale between Portland, OR and the Canadian border under $50,000 just by a single picture and could tell you where they are located, how big they are, what the topography is, what the taxes are, and what utilities are available for them. Am I expecting too much from realtors to be able to know as much about the lots and houses they sell?

The reason I'm saying this is because if I make an offer on a lot with time for a feasibility study, the studies I would have to do would include a wetlands delineation, a septic feasibility report, calls to locate utilities and get costs for hooking up, etc, etc. By the time I'm done, if I decide for some reason not to buy the lot, then I've invested a lot of time and money, and the owner and owner's agent benefit from all that work. I do understand if the owner did all these studies beforehand the lot would cost more, but I also think what a lot of time is wasted when an owner doesn't do these studies ahead of time or if the agent doesn't find out specific info about a lot he or she is representing.

Anyway, I guess this was just a mini-rant and as I'm hoping to put an offer in on a lot soon, most of this will be water under the bridge. Thanks for listening.
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:04 PM
 
2,393 posts, read 4,858,452 times
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It's not too hard to find vacant lots in subdivisions, with all utilities. Of course it costs.

> I would hope that the agent would have some idea

Think about it. Land outside a subdivision doesn't cost as much. Much less than a house. So the commission an agent gets will be small. Why should he spend time doing research?

> if an agent is representing the owners of a lot, wouldn't it be to their benefit to also know of any HOA rules and costs that might impact future buyers?

The agent may know, or have some idea. But you cannot RELY on the agent's knowledge because you must verify all essential aspects yourself. Anything in a listing- for example size of a lot, or availability of water- is not guaranteed.
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
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I don't have a lot of time now... but I will answer in more detail in the morning, some ideas for looking at land in Washington.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:16 PM
 
595 posts, read 376,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
After a couple months of looking for land, I need to ask a question: Why is land so hard to find and get information on?
https://www.landwatch.com/Washington_land_for_sale
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Danbury CT covering all of Fairfield County
2,179 posts, read 5,756,859 times
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Work with an agent that is experienced in land. I can't think of any that specialize in land in my market, then again there's limited devolpment opportunities.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:33 PM
 
10,265 posts, read 6,495,798 times
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Because people who list those things online don't care that they are wasting people's time if they don't specify if the land had access to roads or utilities. They are wasting their own time too, but maybe they can tell the owner that they are trying to get it sold and took an inquiry but it was not what they were looking for.

The worst are condos that don't list the HOA fees or mobile homes that don't tell you if it's a deeded lot or if it has lot rent.

I've seen land, and boat slips and time shares listed under single family home searches, besides the more common mobile homes and condos that are often listed as single family homes.

also I've seen cheap nice looking condos. But you know there is a catch, you have to pay $80K extra to belong to their golf club to live there but it's in the description, not the condo price.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
13,740 posts, read 31,556,293 times
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If you are looking for land under $50,000 and it isn't a lot in a subdivision, then you might have a rookie agent that has the listing, or an agent took it as a courtesy for a client and essentially is acting as an MLS only plus paperwork agent.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Washington state
4,680 posts, read 2,299,411 times
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Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. I think this was more a rant than anything else. I've used Landwatch in the past, but they don't list a quarter of the properties that are actually around here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana Holbrook View Post
I don't have a lot of time now... but I will answer in more detail in the morning, some ideas for looking at land in Washington.
No need to, but thank you anyway - I appreciate that. I'm going in today in about an hour to make an offer on a property I want to buy. It's an acre and a third, mostly cleared, corners marked, with water and electric on the property in an area I've lived in before. Fairly rural - it's about 5 minutes to the main road and 20 minutes after that to the small town (beautiful drive along the water), and ten more minutes from the town to the small city and probably an hour from there to Seattle. Fortunately, I go to Seattle only when someone puts a pitchfork in my back. I thankfully don't have to commute there anymore. Wheeeee!
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
3,827 posts, read 2,050,555 times
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Ah good... I got busy this morning and hadn't had time to answer yet.

It is true that it can be hard to get information and callbacks from listing brokers sometimes, It is a source of frustration to ME TOO when listing brokers don't include a plat map on a property with no address that is just a wall of green from the road and no other pictures.... but help does exist and there are a few sites, plus the county websites, that can give more information.

Good luck on your offer! Keep us posted!
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Washington state
4,680 posts, read 2,299,411 times
Reputation: 13648
Thanks, Diana. I'm nervous as a witch right now. All I can do is wait to see if the offer is accepted. I do expect a counter-offer, though. I know I really threw in a low opening offer.
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