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Old 05-01-2010, 04:34 PM
 
111 posts, read 517,484 times
Reputation: 53

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I've had a lot of helpful comments in the past from people here concerning my interest in the Willamette Valley.

I am hoping to buy some property in the next few years and have a house built. Based on what I've read and what it is my wife and I are looking for, we seem to be closing in toward Salem, or at least a small town within 45 minutes or less of Salem.

So that prompts some more questions:

1) I know that google maps isn't always accurate, so I'm trying to establish which areas really do fall within, let's say, 40 minutes of Salem. To the North, if I were to take I-5, it looks like I might be able to go as far as Wilsonville. To the East, maybe Scotts Mills? (Doesn't actually look like there are many towns East of Silverton.) To the South, Albany is probably too far, but Millersburg may be ok. And to the West, looks like Falls City is too far, but Dallas is probably ok. So are those times realistic? And how much does I-5 suck in rush hour? Moderately bad, or are we talking Los Angeles here?

2) I've been looking at land for sale every once in a while. It seems the best deal is to buy land that has a beat-up horrible mobile home or dilapidated house on it, because most people don't want the headache of clearing it. Question is, what are the laws in Oregon concerning living on your property in a temp. motor or mobile home while you are building?

3) I'm aware of the long gray winters, and am going to have to bite the bullet and deal with it. But my wife mentioned that areas in the valley can get bad air quality in the hottest parts of the year. How bad does it get, and how long does it last when that happens?

4) I know the Willamette river flooded a number of years ago. Anybody know how high the water went? I don't want to be in a flood plain, and am wondering when looking for properties how high is safe?

5) I'm in the early stages of designing a house. What's the deal there with basements? Do people have them, and are houses still built with them?


Thanks for any answers!
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,131 posts, read 37,554,455 times
Reputation: 16052
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post

1) I know that google maps isn't always accurate, so I'm trying to establish which areas really do fall within, let's say, 40 minutes of Salem. To the North, if I were to take I-5, it looks like I might be able to go as far as Wilsonville. To the East, maybe Scotts Mills? (Doesn't actually look like there are many towns East of Silverton.) To the South, Albany is probably too far, but Millersburg may be ok. And to the West, looks like Falls City is too far, but Dallas is probably ok. So are those times realistic? And how much does I-5 suck in rush hour? Moderately bad, or are we talking Los Angeles here?
Well it depends on where in Salem to get that 40 minutes. I will assume from downtown...
To the south, you can go down to Albany, to the west Dallas, to the north Wilsonville, and to the east Silverton/Sublimity. I-5 traffic is not bad from a big city perspective. In fact big city people argue that we have no traffic here. From a Salemite perspective, it is congested during normal rush hour times. It only stops when there is an accident.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
2) I've been looking at land for sale every once in a while. It seems the best deal is to buy land that has a beat-up horrible mobile home or dilapidated house on it, because most people don't want the headache of clearing it. Question is, what are the laws in Oregon concerning living on your property in a temp. motor or mobile home while you are building?
You can live in in a motor home for 6 months with a permit while you built. You can extend that permit if you need to. You can live in a mobile while you build a new house as well. You just need to file that plan with the city/county. A replacement property is fine. And yes, the cheapest thing to do is a nasty house with land, but often the land/area isn't that great so it depends on what you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
3) I'm aware of the long gray winters, and am going to have to bite the bullet and deal with it. But my wife mentioned that areas in the valley can get bad air quality in the hottest parts of the year. How bad does it get, and how long does it last when that happens?
I think last summer there were two days that were deemed bad air quality that I can remember hearing about anyway. It happens maybe once a year or every other year. It happens much more in Portland than in Salem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
4) I know the Willamette river flooded a number of years ago. Anybody know how high the water went? I don't want to be in a flood plain, and am wondering when looking for properties how high is safe?
Flood plains are all designated with FEMA. You can look up an address on the FEMA map and it will tell you if it is in the flood plain. Just remember if you go high then you could be in a landslide area. We have maps to tell you that stuff though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
5) I'm in the early stages of designing a house. What's the deal there with basements? Do people have them, and are houses still built with them?
Houses aren't built with basements here except for daylight basements. They add a lot to construction costs and with our high water table can be useless if you don't get the property draining correctly. The only houses with basements are the old historic houses. You have to build a house to earthquake standards which adds costs. As such...no basements.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:09 PM
 
111 posts, read 517,484 times
Reputation: 53
Thanks for the replies Silverfall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
You can live in in a motor home for 6 months with a permit while you built. You can extend that permit if you need to. You can live in a mobile while you build a new house as well. You just need to file that plan with the city/county. A replacement property is fine. And yes, the cheapest thing to do is a nasty house with land, but often the land/area isn't that great so it depends on what you want.
So 6 months for a motor home, but it can be extended. Is there a time limit for the mobile home? What do you mean by a "replacement" property?

As for what I'd be looking for, I would be looking for a minimum of 5 acres, within 40 minutes of Salem. I'm not looking for anything fancy. The 40 minutes is the limit my wife doesn't want to drive beyond for work. I work from home. I do want to design my house, and do some of the construction myself.

Sometimes properties are listed and it says something about "due process". What's that entail?

Quote:
Houses aren't built with basements here except for daylight basements. They add a lot to construction costs and with our high water table can be useless if you don't get the property draining correctly. The only houses with basements are the old historic houses. You have to build a house to earthquake standards which adds costs. As such...no basements.
Am I correct to assume that since basements are few and far between that most homes are poured slab foundation then? Ever see any post and beam instead? Also, is it difficult to do more along the lines of "green" building such as green roofs, water reclamation systems, etc.?

Thanks
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,131 posts, read 37,554,455 times
Reputation: 16052
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
Thanks for the replies Silverfall.



So 6 months for a motor home, but it can be extended. Is there a time limit for the mobile home? What do you mean by a "replacement" property?
If there is a mobile home on a foundation then it is a manufactured home so it is considered a permanent structure. Depending on the zoning of the property, they often only allow one house on the property. You can build a new house with plans to demolish the old house, but you have to demo the old house. Now if you live in a straight mobile home it is like living in a motor home. 6 month permit at a time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
As for what I'd be looking for, I would be looking for a minimum of 5 acres, within 40 minutes of Salem. I'm not looking for anything fancy. The 40 minutes is the limit my wife doesn't want to drive beyond for work. I work from home. I do want to design my house, and do some of the construction myself.
Not all land is created equal out here. Just keep that in mind. What you buy depends on what you want to build and how you want to use the land AND what it is zoned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
Sometimes properties are listed and it says something about "due process". What's that entail?
I think you mean due diligence. Bare land sometimes doesn't have a percolation test done so a buyer would have to do that themselves. Due diligence is about verifying that you can build on the land.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G. View Post
Am I correct to assume that since basements are few and far between that most homes are poured slab foundation then? Ever see any post and beam instead? Also, is it difficult to do more along the lines of "green" building such as green roofs, water reclamation systems, etc.?
No most homes have a 3-4 foot crawlspace under them for wiring and duct work. Post and beam is difficult to insure so we don't see that out here. It is not desirable.

Oregon is pretty green. You can check with the NW Energy Trust for incentives for solar panels and such as well. Lots of rebates through them for going green. The only thing I am aware of that they don't allow, but will be soon, is a gray water recycling tank. They are working up the codes for that right now, is my understanding.
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