As usual I am not suggesting here that people who read this blog run out and do any of the things I talk about here. —- What I am doing is relating some of my own ideas and experiences for those who might be interested in me and the things I do or have done in the past or who may be interested in experiences I have had.
One of the things that fascinated me early in my personal fiscal revival was the prospect of acquiring and owning some undeveloped land here and there and the reason I got interested was because a friend of mine reminded me, “They are not making land anymore and land is always sure to escalate in value over time.”
During those hungry days I never once considered buying a parcel of property with any intention of building anything on it but my whole concept was that if I held onto it long enough and paid my property taxes regularly and on time the time would come when the value of the land would increase to the point where if I were to sell it I could realize a profit from the transaction.
Other than cutting the weeds sometime in jurisdictions that require mowing and what not, there is very little work to holding title to parcels of undeveloped property. Different community zoning laws carry different requirements for maintenance. But in the cases I have seen and witnessed over the years the requirements for such maintenance have not been grevious or unworkable if one can access just a little working capital with which to effect what is needed to be done.
The most work I have ever undertaken in relation to owning any piece of property was the work required to stick a “For Sale” sign somewhere on it and wait for word from the realtor I had selected to handle the details to tell me that there was a buyer or a prospective buyer.
I remember when I got hold of a small house in a residential area of a small rural community a long time ago. —- As I remember the initial cost of that house was somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 total.
The home had been occupied by an elderly retired couple who had passed away and I had a friend in the Building and Loan Business who made the arrangements for us to take the property over and once all the details were settled I even was able to borrow enough money from the same building and loan company to put aluminum siding on the house …. to have a new brick chimney built …. to have a new roof put on and to have a porch and steps and railing installed on the front.
By the time that home sold, the original $5,000 investment had increased to a value at resale of $13.500 which, after deducting the $2,000 for the improvements, left $8,500 and the realtor fee came to $3,500 leaving me with a check in hand of $5,000 — and that was after I had lived in it for more than a year.
That deal was not earth shattering but it did teach me some valuable lessons and allowed me to gain some valuable experience.
The next lesson I learned was that it is always wise to go for tax distressed properties if you can find them and having access to public records is always a plus when one wishes to see who is delinquent on their property taxes and what stage collection action is in on those delinquent taxes. Sometimes some very sweet little deals can be made to buy such properties for a song.
When I was a kid back in the 1950s I knew an old man who had a country store on a country road outside a very small village in a Midwestern Town and across from his store he owned a relatively large field that lay vacant except for the small gun range that he had constructed on it.
The time came a few years later when a large commercial conglomerate bought that field from my old friend and he pocketed a check for a few million dollars and moved to Florida.
Stroke of luck?
No! — Such things happen all the time to all kinds of people.
Sometimes it is positively amazing what can happen when an individual owns a parcel of undeveloped property in an area where a corporation wants to build a giant factory or where the State might want to build a highway or where a subdivision builder decides to erect a couple hundred high-end homes for sale.
Many people who live in what were once family farms are sitting on virtual fortunes in land and many of them realize enormous profits when community expansion or industrial expansion comes their way and their property lies in the path of progress.
The piece of vacant land that appears to be virtually worthless one day can be the very piece of land that some developer desperately needs in order to advance a project and the sweet part of all this is that the person who owns the vacant property never quite knows when the opportunity will strike!
Of course it is always wise to have a good lawyer friend somewhere at hand when contemplating speculations such as the ones I am talking about because as in all things involving money there are often complications that require expert legal advice and I cannot recommend the services of a great lawyer highly enough to anyone thinking about going on this kind of adventure.
I have to admit that besides knowing people who have profited from their vacant land — including the Son of a farmer who turned his family land into a prosperous subdivision of nice brick ranch homes — I also have seen instances where people have lost their virtual rear ends through careless speculations so this is not something that can be entered into totally blind.