U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Rural and Small Town Living
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 10-06-2010, 04:15 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 25,961,502 times
Reputation: 3561

Advertisements

I grew up in the hills. Big lots, winding roads, deer, turkeys, mountain lions, open space. I miss that. Even the suburbs are too lively for me! I have solid employment (though low income for the area) and good credit, so I've been checking out the possibilities. Nowhere that's already built is within my reach, but I've been checking land listings and found this:

0 Glenwood Dr, Los Gatos Mtns, CA 95033 | MLS# 80723263

I know that realistically, there's probably a reason why this has been on the market since 2007, and I figure topography might have something to do with it. But let's assume that there are some possibilities there, because there are other homes in the area. It's only a mile from the main highway to town. Power is available. It needs a well and septic. In the interest of keeping initial costs low, I was thinking of grading and setting a foundation, buying an old mobile for about $20,000 and dropping it on there. It's very similar to how my piano teacher made the home she's lived in all her life. I know there are sometimes firestorms in this mountain range, so I'd need to clear defensible space. But in theory, I'd have a nice little forest retreat for not a lot of money where I could keep animals and grow veggies.

USDA seems to be the best option for financing this kind of remote property. Does this sound realistic? Is it the sort of thing that can be done with only minor headaches by a first-timer who is just desperate to get out of renting and away from city life, or am I going to find out quickly why it looks so attractive on paper?
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-06-2010, 06:08 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
451 posts, read 859,906 times
Reputation: 383
Hmmmmm. Let's see, where to start ?

Okay, let's try this...

No matter what I or others say, do NOT get discouraged, because the fact is, you CAN do what you are planning, and do it cheaply.

The listing you linked to is in the woods. Not all wooded areas are garden-friendly, even after you've cleared some. The soils are woodland soils and then there is surrounding canopy to consider. You might need to clear a considerable area to provide adequate light for even a modest garden. That will depend on the specific sight, slope of the land, etc., etc.

The mobile idea is fine (depending on county and state codes) - the well and septic many cost much more or, much less. Talk to the folks living in the area. Try to find others that moved there with motivations similar to your own. Listen carefully to several such - stories and experiences will vary widely, so screen for common recurring themes. They'll most likely approximate the truths you are looking for.

Ask the realtor what is wrong with the place, why it's on the market so long and any defects that are known, bad neighbors, whatever. If asked directly they have a more absolute obligation to make full disclosure of any known flaws or problems.

Good luck!

Keep chasing the dream - it is the only way to catch it.

mg
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-06-2010, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 26,370,244 times
Reputation: 6283
You have a lot of things to consider, the least of which is how deep you have to drill to hit water. If you are in mountains with a deep rock bed it may cost more than the land is worth. You will have the same problem with setting a septic tank and field. Been there, done that in mpuntain foothills.

You may be better served by a water tower that is fillled externally and drink/cook with bottled water. Further, no lending institution will loan $20K on an old trailer; it won't happen. $10-12K tops if it is in decent condition. Then you have the problem of moving it and tying it down with rebar.

Cold and high winds are not your friends in the mountains. You may well need a second heat source such as wood fired heat. Depending upon where you live, if you have gas, it will be probably be propane; its expensive to buy. I advise you to buy a 1000 gal tank. .

Surveyors have a plat for overy inch of the county you propose moving to. You need to look at the maps and learn more about the topography in relation to the nearest water source. Your should also look in weather archives at NOAA.org to learn about the weather pattern.

Chances are the county will have to do, or has already done a "perc" test" on that property. It is a requirement in most states before a septic can be installed. If you can't install a septic, then you a new set of problems for even an out house will be problem to dig should you buy it. The last septic I installed in '99 cost about five large ones to set in rocky soil. And in mos tstates it ihas to be inspected before it can be covered.It was another $500 for the site test and inspections.

Unless you see neighbors with a veggie garden, it will be a challenge. You may end up with raised beds or container plants. Firestorm? There is a paint that can be applied to roofs that is fireproof - at least in theory it works. When it comes to fire there is no guarantee; fire jumps. Here is a link to the largest forest fire in history. It broke out about the same time as the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. FAQs .

Do your research and weigh your oprtions carefully.
.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-07-2010, 12:00 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 25,961,502 times
Reputation: 3561
I know it's right next to a creek.. in fact, it may even be on the property. I would be pretty shocked if it flunked a perc test for that reason, but I'll assume the worst and go in cautiously. I drove through the area tonight, and it looks like the canopy is old growth redwood. Clearing it enough for a garden might be a fairly big issue. The space for animals is more important to me, though, so it's not a deal breaker if a garden would be more trouble than it's worth. The neighbors have horses.

Thanks for all the tips. What would it cost to move a mobile about 25 miles?

I also have to consider whether I really want to deal with dial-up internet..
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-07-2010, 12:27 AM
 
549 posts, read 1,882,856 times
Reputation: 756
Here's maybe why it's reduced and still on the market:

off main road = $
easement to property = neighbor problems
sloped, not flat = extra construction costs = $
can't see from road
no water = $
no sewer = $
no electricity = $
no utilities = $
$63,750 = $63,750

Not saying it can't work, just saying $$$$$. If I really wanted it I'd offer half to start.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-07-2010, 02:18 AM
 
Location: california
5,903 posts, read 5,046,575 times
Reputation: 7003
Default Having lived in the mountains over 25 years

I might have a few suggestions to considder.
snow fall, how much and the direction of the wind
where does the sun make is path that's your morning light and warmth during the winter. Personally I like the sun facing the front of the house .
or having windows facing south against the sun during the day , think solar. The dense forest is your parimiter defence, both for fire danger and animal approach. what is you road going to be like in the winter?
I'd recomend you set your trailor temperary till you see what the winter does. think solar
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-07-2010, 09:50 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
451 posts, read 859,906 times
Reputation: 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
I know it's right next to a creek.. in fact, it may even be on the property. I would be pretty shocked if it flunked a perc test for that reason, but I'll assume the worst and go in cautiously. I drove through the area tonight, and it looks like the canopy is old growth redwood. Clearing it enough for a garden might be a fairly big issue. The space for animals is more important to me, though, so it's not a deal breaker if a garden would be more trouble than it's worth. The neighbors have horses.

Thanks for all the tips. What would it cost to move a mobile about 25 miles?

I also have to consider whether I really want to deal with dial-up internet..
Your above info leads to a couple of flags and ideas:

The creek nearby may present more of a problem than you imagine. Talk to the county sanitarians in the courthouse at the county seat.

Moving mobile homes has as much to do with roads and grades as distance. You must talk to the person(s) who will be doing the move to get any kind of idea as to the cost.

If the trees are indeed old growth, you will be meeting environmentally motivated folks every time you want to do anything on your property. Find out from neighbors about this issue. Talk to people where the land sits - they'll know more than folks here can guess at.

That the neighbors have horses only indicates that, well, um, they have horses - not that it is necessarliy a good idea.

Moral to the story: You cannot ask too many questions of people in that area.

Keep at it - you're doing great!

mg
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-07-2010, 10:39 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 25,961,502 times
Reputation: 3561
Quote:
Originally Posted by arleigh View Post
I might have a few suggestions to considder.
snow fall, how much and the direction of the wind
where does the sun make is path that's your morning light and warmth during the winter. Personally I like the sun facing the front of the house .
or having windows facing south against the sun during the day , think solar. The dense forest is your parimiter defence, both for fire danger and animal approach. what is you road going to be like in the winter?
I'd recomend you set your trailor temperary till you see what the winter does. think solar
It's the Bay Area, and only about 1500 feet above sea level (similar to where I lived as a kid), so snowfall is minimal and doesn't stick when it does happen. Highway 17 has never been closed for snow as far as I can remember. It is a bit dicey making that left turn onto the highway during commute hours even in the dry, but if that scares other people away, all the better for me.

Haven't been there in the daytime yet, or even seen the property itself. So there's still some homework to be done for sure, and I'm keeping my eyes open for other plots which might pose fewer challenges.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-07-2010, 05:26 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 20,167,599 times
Reputation: 6227
RULE #1 - Is there any restrictions on the use of the land?

You can do all the soil test, surveys, topo maps, wind speed, wind direction charts, rainfalls, temeperature and design & layout for the land, but if there is something that restricts what you can do on the land, that says it all.

I look back when I moved where I am now and remeber all the vacant lots being sold to folks for weekend getaways. They were going to build their vacation homes. The land was cheaper compared to mine, but you know, they can only use it for ranching or agriculture. No buildings or dwellimgs. Most are now being dumped for pennies on the dollar. Glad i did my due diligence and checked everything first before getting too attracted to a piece of property.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-07-2010, 06:20 PM
 
357 posts, read 890,715 times
Reputation: 202
how much it cost to have the perc test in that area. have it done first, flunked a perc test = NOT build able, or if it required a super clean septic system that may cost $$,$$$. certain area may not allow to build with in say 75 or 100 feet of the creek.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
I know it's right next to a creek.. in fact, it may even be on the property. I would be pretty shocked if it flunked a perc test for that reason, but I'll assume the worst and go in cautiously. I drove through the area tonight, and it looks like the canopy is old growth redwood. Clearing it enough for a garden might be a fairly big issue. The space for animals is more important to me, though, so it's not a deal breaker if a garden would be more trouble than it's worth. The neighbors have horses.

Thanks for all the tips. What would it cost to move a mobile about 25 miles?

I also have to consider whether I really want to deal with dial-up internet..

Last edited by wabanaki; 10-07-2010 at 06:21 PM.. Reason: missed speal
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Rural and Small Town Living
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top