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View Full Version : Lots O' Land, to buy or not to buy?



Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 03:59 PM
So I am hoping some of you can give me your opinions.

I am going to look at a house tomorrow that sits on an acre + land. It's hard to find that in South Florida...unless you are a millionaire, which I'm not.

It's a rehab home that is affordable for me. It's in a great area with surrounding homes with similar sized lots. It doesn't feel like South Florida, it feels like a country home in another state. The home has a new roof, the interior is all re-done, with granite kitchens, wood floors and porcelain tile.

Normally, it would be a no brainer to buy such a big piece of property on the cheap in a wealthy area of Palm Beach county...but my thing is...HOW HARD IS IT TO MAINTAIN SUCH A LARGE, CLEARED, PROPERTY? I would love to get into gardening and planting a vegetable garden. The house has some beautiful old oak trees that provide a fair amount of shade too.
In the future, I can put in a pool and swing set for my daughter. It has lots of potential..but how crazy is the upkeep??

Thanks for your help guys :D

noonwitch
06-01-2011, 04:05 PM
You will need a riding mower. On the up side, if you are into gardening, you have a lot of space to do it in. You will definitely have room for a pool and swingset.

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 04:12 PM
You will need a riding mower. On the up side, if you are into gardening, you have a lot of space to do it in. You will definitely have room for a pool and swingset.

I suppose I would either get a riding mower or pay someone (which may be substantial). What about irrigation, will my water bill be skyhigh?

noonwitch
06-01-2011, 04:47 PM
I suppose I would either get a riding mower or pay someone (which may be substantial). What about irrigation, will my water bill be skyhigh?



I would guess so. Our water bills in Michigan are not as high as in other parts of the country, for obvious reasons, plus, we get plenty of rain.


The house I lived in while growing up had almost an acre of land. We had underground sprinklers installed at some point because running a hose to a sprinkler was not practical. We also had a pool and a swingset, but not at the same time (my parents waited until we all could swim well, and until my brother and I were old enough to take CPR/lifesaving classes before getting a pool). We also had a county easement, which we were not allowed to construct anything permanent upon. We incorporated it into our yard, and eventually put our volleyball court there.

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 05:31 PM
I would guess so. Our water bills in Michigan are not as high as in other parts of the country, for obvious reasons, plus, we get plenty of rain.


The house I lived in while growing up had almost an acre of land. We had underground sprinklers installed at some point because running a hose to a sprinkler was not practical. We also had a pool and a swingset, but not at the same time (my parents waited until we all could swim well, and until my brother and I were old enough to take CPR/lifesaving classes before getting a pool). We also had a county easement, which we were not allowed to construct anything permanent upon. We incorporated it into our yard, and eventually put our volleyball court there.


Sounds awesome. I just called the realtor. The sprinkler system is connected to a well. So that's a big plus.

Zathras
06-01-2011, 05:41 PM
You will need a riding mower. On the up side, if you are into gardening, you have a lot of space to do it in. You will definitely have room for a pool and swingset.

And here's the perfect lawnmower for the property....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBrUWIUxeik

Starbuck
06-01-2011, 05:46 PM
Maintaining a house and property can be a fistfull. But if you feel you are up to it, then you probably are.

My advice: Plan on doing almost all of it yourself. Become self reliant as much as you possibly can. That way when something does go wrong, like say, a hot water heater, you will at least know what the plumber is talking about. Get yourself a lawn mower, learn about maintaining your yard. Buy some basic tools. You know, like pliers, screwdrivers, hammers..that kind of stuff, and learn to fix hinges, locks, the toilet.

Owning a house is rewarding. If you understand the expenses and allot yourself the time you can get more out of the house (psychologically) than you put in.

Oh, yeah. And get a dog.:)

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 05:58 PM
It's not the inside of the house that I am worried about. I've been a homeowner for decades now:D It's the one acre on the outside that i'm worried about.:(

djones520
06-01-2011, 06:05 PM
Not particularly hard. I used to maintain 5 acres of open land. Get a riding mower, and it'll be pretty easy to do 1-2 acres.

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 06:18 PM
Not particularly hard. I used to maintain 5 acres of open land. Get a riding mower, and it'll be pretty easy to do 1-2 acres.


Which do you suggest? Something a girl can drive :o

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 06:25 PM
I just love the idea of having so much land and starting a vegetable garden. I love the idea of raising my daughter on a big parcel of land while teaching her how to grow produce. I love the idea of planting mango trees and other fruits that grow in the south.
I grew up in NYC , where I could touch the next house if I stuck my arm out the window. This is certainly different. But the "don't bite off more than you can chew" cliche comes to mind as well.

djones520
06-01-2011, 06:29 PM
Which do you suggest? Something a girl can drive :o

That I couldn't help you with. It's been more then 9 years since I used one.

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 06:37 PM
Where's Gingersnap? She always has good viewpoints on things.

lacarnut
06-01-2011, 06:42 PM
Which do you suggest? Something a girl can drive :o

Home Depot sells John Deer riding mowers. I think they are pretty good and easy to operate with a steering wheel. The zero turn mowers would take some practice. You have many options but get one with a long warranty and check out their reliability on the Internet.

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 07:01 PM
Home Depot sells John Deer riding mowers. I think they are pretty good and easy to operate with a steering wheel. The zero turn mowers would take some practice. You have many options but get one with a long warranty and check out their reliability on the Internet.

I don't know what zero turn mowers are, but I will look into it.

fettpett
06-01-2011, 07:15 PM
John Deere are good tractors, my Aunt and Grandparents owned a landscaping business and thats all they used. I learned to use one and it's very easy, lots of extras that can be gotten for them, mowing deck and tiller for a garden

lacarnut
06-01-2011, 07:21 PM
I don't know what zero turn mowers are, but I will look into it.

Zero turn mowers have a handle on each side. The handles determine whether you want to go left or right or forward or backwards You can whip that mower around 360 degrees and mow in almost the same spot. Once you get used to it, it is much easier to use than one with a steering wheel. It just takes a little practice. Someone that is not experienced might be better off with the one with a steering wheel because of the radical turning radius of the zero turn mower.

SarasotaRepub
06-01-2011, 07:39 PM
If it's just an acre you can probably get a real good deal on a used
small tractor.

It's a real + that it has a well. We have one in this house and it's greyt. :D


Good luck with it tomorrow and send some pics if you get it!!

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 07:55 PM
Zero turn mowers have a handle on each side. The handles determine whether you want to go left or right or forward or backwards You can whip that mower around 360 degrees and mow in almost the same spot. Once you get used to it, it is much easier to use than one with a steering wheel. It just takes a little practice. Someone that is not experienced might be better off with the one with a steering wheel because of the radical turning radius of the zero turn mower.

Sounds like a bike :D

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 08:01 PM
Good luck with it tomorrow and send some pics if you get it!!

http://i53.tinypic.com/6j0guh.jpg

http://i55.tinypic.com/ogy8j.jpg

http://i54.tinypic.com/72x2bq.jpg

http://i56.tinypic.com/sgrhx0.jpg

the house needs some exterior TLC, but completed renovated interior

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 08:12 PM
the bedrooms have wood floors.

http://i51.tinypic.com/tahpb6.jpg

lacarnut
06-01-2011, 08:13 PM
Sounds like a bike :D

Yep. Have you gotten a home inspection?

The house looks nice. I have never wanted a big yard. In fact, I threathened to concrete the yard and put down AstroTurf; my ex was not amused.:p

Gingersnap
06-01-2011, 08:16 PM
Where's Gingersnap? She always has good viewpoints on things.

One acre is not too much for one adult to manage at all. Now is the time to ask yourself questions about landscaping. An acre of grass is a waste unless you have livestock. Consider marking off the turf you want to keep and tearing out the rest. You can overseed with Bermuda grass or some other hot weather/low maintenance grass type.

Mark off your veggie garden and make it twice as big as you think you can handle. After a few years of experience, you'll kick yourself if you make it too small. Think about having a few chickens down the road and where you'd coop them. If you want to grow fruit trees eventually, mark that area out when you mark off the garden or you will screw up the shade/sun situation.

You don't have to get all this going immediately but immediate planning will save you problems down the road.

Hawkgirl
06-01-2011, 08:33 PM
One acre is not too much for one adult to manage at all. Now is the time to ask yourself questions about landscaping. An acre of grass is a waste unless you have livestock. Consider marking off the turf you want to keep and tearing out the rest. You can overseed with Bermuda grass or some other hot weather/low maintenance grass type.

Mark off your veggie garden and make it twice as big as you think you can handle. After a few years of experience, you'll kick yourself if you make it too small. Think about having a few chickens down the road and where you'd coop them. If you want to grow fruit trees eventually, mark that area out when you mark off the garden or you will screw up the shade/sun situation.

You don't have to get all this going immediately but immediate planning will save you problems down the road.


Eventhough they are one acre lots, they still have an HOA:mad: although lenient, as far as I know. They don't allow farm animals, with the exception of horses...large equestrian communities flank this one. One side of the yard is already sectioned off with a fence that was probably used for horses or maybe dogs. that is the side that I would like to make into a vegetable garden. I want fruit trees around the periphery as I want to leave the center open for pool and lounging/play areas. I also want to extend the back patio with a large screened in one. http://i53.tinypic.com/v7fwx0.jpg

The property already has some decent sized oak trees which I love. (might make it a challenge to mow though) A long driveway and big front yard as well. The home is on the small size, only a 3/2, but that is fine with me.

The first thing I need to do is get a lawn doctor to start repairing the patchy(maybe dead parts) of the lawn. Then I can start planning everything else, which will take money. So it will be a long time hobby of sorts. The vegatable garden will get started right away as I"m sure my father will love setting it up for me.

Tomorrow I get to see the interior and decide if I want to put in an offer, then comes inspection...For some reason, I am excited about this house, it's very different from what I am accustomed to.

SarasotaRepub
06-01-2011, 09:05 PM
The place looks nice! The kitchen redo looks pretty good and make sure the A/C system gets checked. :)

Ask about the hurricane flood zone data also...

RobJohnson
06-02-2011, 01:06 AM
Which do you suggest? Something a girl can drive :o

http://caulkischeap.com/2007/08/27/here-is-my-library-card-because-im-checking-you-out/index_files/hot-neig.jpg

RobJohnson
06-02-2011, 01:09 AM
http://i53.tinypic.com/6j0guh.jpg


the house needs some exterior TLC, but completed renovated interior


Very nice.

Yard would not be hard to take care of. It would keep you busy at time, but would also be fun and relaxing.

I would go for it.

Do you need my cell phone number? I could be your Nanny/groundskeeper... :D

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 08:21 AM
http://caulkischeap.com/2007/08/27/here-is-my-library-card-because-im-checking-you-out/index_files/hot-neig.jpg

Is that you? You're hired!:cool:

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 08:27 AM
Very nice.

Yard would not be hard to take care of. It would keep you busy at time, but would also be fun and relaxing.

I would go for it.

Do you need my cell phone number? I could be your Nanny/groundskeeper... :D

I spoke to a friend of mine who has about 2 acres in an area a bit north from me, and he said he and his wife do their own lawn care...but that it should be pretty cheap to get someone to do it for me, so I'm going that route for now.

Rob, don't forget pool boy!;)

noonwitch
06-02-2011, 12:38 PM
Home Depot sells John Deer riding mowers. I think they are pretty good and easy to operate with a steering wheel. The zero turn mowers would take some practice. You have many options but get one with a long warranty and check out their reliability on the Internet.



My dad always got his mowers at Monkey Wards, which is no more.

Sears might have some good store-brand mowers, if the John Deere mowers are too expensive. A JD mower will probably last longer, because it's good quality. But Sears is tops for store-brand appliances and such.

SarasotaRepub
06-02-2011, 07:59 PM
So how did it go???? :confused::D

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 08:08 PM
So how did it go???? :confused::D


Negative, there were too many problems, not little problems, termite evidence, the ceilings were sloping in a way I've never seen. The installed new windows, but didn't finish them on the outside, insulation sticking out of the frames. Bathroom walls had mold. The photos hid a lot. :(

I knew it was priced low for a reason. Back to the drawing board.

SarasotaRepub
06-02-2011, 08:17 PM
When I didn't see a word today I figured as much. This crap happens and I'm sure South Florida still has plenty to pick from at greyt prices.

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 08:27 PM
When I didn't see a word today I figured as much. This crap happens and I'm sure South Florida still has plenty to pick from at greyt prices.

Yeh...it's weeding out the bad ones. Some of the foreclosures I've seen this year are hideous. Banks can't give them away. It's sad and frightening to see how some people live.

fettpett
06-02-2011, 08:56 PM
it's a buyer's market right now, probably the best since the end of World War 2

Novaheart
06-02-2011, 09:45 PM
I suppose I would either get a riding mower or pay someone (which may be substantial). What about irrigation, will my water bill be skyhigh?

I think my aunt said that it cost $125 to get the place mowed, but I don't know if she has one or two acres cleared, and she's way out in the country in Maryland. Around here, you could probably get two guys you wouldn't want in your house to do it for less. I'll also tell you that when her riding lawnmower broke, it cost more to fix because the mechanic had to come to her house to do it. So, when you buy a mower, get one that you can load into a pick up even if it means you have to make a few extra turns in the mowing.

Put wooden stakes next to the sprinkler heads, or the lawn service might tear them up and not tell you about it. Even absent the incompetence, when people drive on the grass, and they will when you throw your monster 4th of July party, you don't want them to bust your sprinkler heads. It only take a minute to run around them with the weedeater.

Get a decent chainsaw too. You'll have a lot of fun with it. And some guns if you don't have one. Always be prepared, especially now that you are of the manor.

Novaheart
06-02-2011, 09:47 PM
Yeh...it's weeding out the bad ones. Some of the foreclosures I've seen this year are hideous. Banks can't give them away. It's sad and frightening to see how some people live.

A lot of people trash the house on the way out. The banks bring that on themselves.

NJCardFan
06-02-2011, 09:57 PM
A lot of people trash the house on the way out. The banks bring that on themselves.

I still think you're a douchebag but welcome back.

Novaheart
06-02-2011, 10:02 PM
I still think you're a douchebag but welcome back.


You charmer, you/

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 10:05 PM
A lot of people trash the house on the way out. The banks bring that on themselves.


Why is it the banks fault? If the person wasn't able to make payments on a CONTRACT, then it's not the banks fault to void the contract and take possession.

I think people who trash homes due to foreclosure are low class, to say the least.

SaintLouieWoman
06-02-2011, 10:35 PM
I suppose I would either get a riding mower or pay someone (which may be substantial). What about irrigation, will my water bill be skyhigh?
I just started reading this thread and might be duplicating some advice. But in our development in Sarasota, all the homes have wells for the sprinkler system, so we don't have a sky high water bill. Ask to see if they have that.

As far as the grasscutting, we've been using an Amish family. We have just a bit under a half acre, which is unusual in this area. Most of the new developments have much smaller lots, but our house was built in 1978 and was apparently totally gutted and redone 7 years ago.

I've been probably watching HGTV too much, but would check to see who did the work---the homeowner or a professional. Be sure to check to see that they got permits for anything that was done.

We've had to get permits for the new garage door, even the storm shutters on the front and side doors.

I was taken on my house in St Louis. The homeowner was a handyman who didn't know what he was doing. We had to pull out some of the electrical work that was absolutely not up to code.

Novaheart
06-02-2011, 10:39 PM
Why is it the banks fault? If the person wasn't able to make payments on a CONTRACT, then it's not the banks fault to void the contract and take possession.

I think people who trash homes due to foreclosure are low class, to say the least.

I didn't say it was always justified, and I really didn't intend to derail the thread. From what I have read, it's not the foreclosure that inspires people to do this, it's the way they are treated by bank policy and personnel leading up to the foreclosure. Yes, ultimately the properly prepared consumer living within his means, with proper savings and preparation won't find himself in foreclosure, but in reality most people buy as much house as they can afford and expect to have their salary increase while their housing expense remains the same and their equity builds. Not too many people right there right now.

Have you ever worked in collections? They treat people like crap. My personal experience is that nice people don't work in collections, and those who try it (because it pays better than account services) end up transferring out because they can't take treating people like crap all day.

Do a Google search and you won't have any trouble finding people who were led by their bank to believe that they were working on a HAMP restructure when in fact they were working on a foreclosure. The banks really aren't working with average people. But be some big scum bag whose about to walk away from millions of dollars of property, and the bank practically begs you to keep it on new terms.

That's what I meant. But you are right... some people are just dirtbags who would leave a rental property trashed and who leave their own property trashed.

SaintLouieWoman
06-02-2011, 10:49 PM
Why is it the banks fault? If the person wasn't able to make payments on a CONTRACT, then it's not the banks fault to void the contract and take possession.

I think people who trash homes due to foreclosure are low class, to say the least.

We're seeing foreclosures in our neighborhood. It kills me the prices that some of them are going for. At least the one that just sold here went for $20k more than the bank asked for it. Obviously it was priced so low that there was a bidding war to get the property.

I'm the sucker who was duped into running for our HOA board. I'm the treasurer, Talk about a thankless unpaid job. :rolleyes:

I'm in the midst of doing paperwork for a bank owned property. I've heard every excuse of why people can't pay their HOA dues. Someone else set the precedent, so now all the perennial deadbeats in the community (from years back) are opting for the "payment" plan. I have 3 now, but said that no more next year. I'm not a collection agent. I have them leaving small checks at the door after making calls to them.

I let the neighborhood do-gooder blabbermouth know that if they didn't make their payments, as I gave them a break that none of the previous treasurers would do, that I was going to turn their names into our attorney for collection. Funny thing, I got a check yesterday from the biggest deadbeat.

I wouldn't want to be a collection agent, but I resent being taken.

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 11:42 PM
The worst part is that is that HOA's raise dues to the other residents who ARE paying their monthly dues because of so many foreclosures that aren't.

It's a big mess and I see no end in sight for this housing crisis.

I lost so much equity in my homes(primary and 2 investment properties). Even my GA home, where values weren't sky high to begin with, are falling.

I'm not selling anything until I retire (27 years from now) as I refuse to take a loss. I'm the SUCKER who actually put down 20% or more on my properties. Looks like I'll be a landlord for years to come. Oh well, there are worse things in life I suppose.

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 11:43 PM
I just started reading this thread and might be duplicating some advice. But in our development in Sarasota, all the homes have wells for the sprinkler system, so we don't have a sky high water bill. Ask to see if they have that.

As far as the grasscutting, we've been using an Amish family. We have just a bit under a half acre, which is unusual in this area. Most of the new developments have much smaller lots, but our house was built in 1978 and was apparently totally gutted and redone 7 years ago.

I've been probably watching HGTV too much, but would check to see who did the work---the homeowner or a professional. Be sure to check to see that they got permits for anything that was done.

We've had to get permits for the new garage door, even the storm shutters on the front and side doors.

I was taken on my house in St Louis. The homeowner was a handyman who didn't know what he was doing. We had to pull out some of the electrical work that was absolutely not up to code.

I'm not buying the money pit after all.

Hawkgirl
06-02-2011, 11:48 PM
I
Do a Google search and you won't have any trouble finding people who were led by their bank to believe that they were working on a HAMP restructure when in fact they were working on a foreclosure. The banks really aren't working with average people. But be some big scum bag whose about to walk away from millions of dollars of property, and the bank practically begs you to keep it on new terms.



Well you are right about that....but it's a business, and they want their money. They cater to the sharks who buy distressed properties in bulk and in cash. Miami is the worst.

lacarnut
06-03-2011, 02:09 AM
I'm not buying the money pit after all.

Just as well cause from all indications it looks like home values will keep declining for a few more years.

Hawkgirl
06-03-2011, 11:35 AM
Just as well cause from all indications it looks like home values will keep declining for a few more years.

Are you saying we haven't reached a bottom yet? I think the bottom has been stable 'round these parts for the past 6 months. Not moving up, but not going down either.

SaintLouieWoman
06-03-2011, 12:10 PM
Are you saying we haven't reached a bottom yet? I think the bottom has been stable 'round these parts for the past 6 months. Not moving up, but not going down either.

We had a sale in our development last month where they got top dollar (not comparable to the highs but higher than anything in the last 18 months) and where they actually got $3k over the asking price. That's a very good sign.

From what I've heard Naples and the Ft Myers area took a bigger hit than Sarasota, ditto Miami.

lacarnut
06-03-2011, 12:32 PM
Are you saying we haven't reached a bottom yet? I think the bottom has been stable 'round these parts for the past 6 months. Not moving up, but not going down either.

In some areas that is true from what I have read. However, I think a bottom has been reached. Home values in Baton Rouge went up after Katrina due to the evacuation in N.O. and surrounding areas and have not gone down very much. The house next to mine has been on the market for 6 months. Looks like buyers are few and far between.

namvet
06-03-2011, 07:16 PM
considering the heat get a good AC contractor.

also is this building Hurricane proof?? I hear homo's down there pays higher insurance premiums.

RobJohnson
06-05-2011, 11:32 PM
I spoke to a friend of mine who has about 2 acres in an area a bit north from me, and he said he and his wife do their own lawn care...but that it should be pretty cheap to get someone to do it for me, so I'm going that route for now.

Rob, don't forget pool boy!;)

I would be what ever you want. :D