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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Need some advice on buying land, septic, electric,
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Dorothy509    Posted 10-22-2003 at 22:43:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Please forgive this long thread, I have so much to say.
I've found an old homestead, it has no electric, propane, and likely, no good well. Electric will have to run approx. 100 ft or more from the raodside, no existing poles! This property has been abandoned for years! It has the potential, with tons of hard work, and monetary investment, of becoming heaven on earth. I'm almost certain the owner (who owns the whole section) would like to sell or rent. They rent the rest of the section to be farmed. I had heard a year ago that the owner(don't know if it's the same one) would like someone to move a mobile home out there to live, but if they ever moved, they would agree to leave the house there, which I can understand, considering what the owners investment would be. The owner is in his 40's,(good news) and used to have amusic store.
I'm thinking, I'd rather own it, as he could sell it out from under me, and all my hard work goes out the door! I'm thinking about my interests, AND his (it has to be worth it for him, too).
Please advise as to how you would approach this with the owner, land is approx. 4 acres, kansas land is pretty cheap.
In my county, to be able to have a house in the country, it has to be 20 acres, or surveyed & platted. Again, i'd rather own. I have income that can fund these things in time, but am a chronic do it yourselfer, and need to save money like everyone else.
What about utilities?
How can anyone make this work?????
Does anyone know of any internet sites? Forums that are alive and kicking? :)
I am having a really hard time finding info. on the net about surveys-expense, electric-ballpark cost of, septic,propane set up-cost, you name it!
My county DOES allow the owner to build their own septic, rules apply, of course.
BTW, I am a single mom with two lovely girls who will be helping me (as always), I'm used to doing many things on my own, but I'm aware that my limitations may become agonizingly clear at times throughout this adventure I'm about to embark on!
Please Help!!


screaminghollow    Posted 10-24-2003 at 00:44:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
I was interrupted below. Check your local code carefully, In some areas if a house has been "abandoned" the right to occupy may have expired for any grandfathering under the code. If that is the case, you may not be able to get an occupancy permit until the entire house is up to current code. I know Kansas isn't the same as PA, Md. and parts of NJ and VA, but you also don't want to buy, move in and start work, only to be told that you must move out until the current code is met. That could require more cost and expense than new. I am aware of one case in rural maryland where the new owner was required to gut all the walls and install fireblocking and insulation and new wiring and plumbing, so it could be inspected, and then he was allowed to move in. Some codes require all possible lead paint to be removed before they even consider occupancy again after a house has sat vacant for over two years.


deadcarp    Posted 10-23-2003 at 10:24:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Dorothy, in this country you can have anything you set your mind to and people keep proving that!
our neigbor lady's a single mom and about 5 years ago managed to get an old cabin on a hillside on our lake. the first winter if $300 fuel bills taught her the place needed work so she started at it. with effort they got a nice retaining wall downhill. they got the place jacked up, found a guy with a short bulldozer, dug it out and put the basemenbt blocks in. when they tore down the old half iof the cabin, the other half collapsed downhill and had to go too! she borrowed a travel trailer and scrimped and toiled and just this fall, finished the stucco on her new place. so can it be one? you betcha! :)


Willy-N    Posted 10-23-2003 at 10:22:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here are some numbers I had to spend on Undeveloped land with good well not including the money for the property. Ground work = 7,500.00 for 350 ft drive way, all ditches, foundations dug (2) buildings. 4,800.00 power line coming to house = 1,800 ft run several poles. 1,400.00 phone line to house Long ways! 2,500.00 septic system installed, start framing of 1,680 sq ft house 35,000.00 trim of house pluming, elect, insulation, sheet rock, doors, cabnets ect another 65,000.00 and I did 90% of that work. The list goes on and on! If I had to pay to get the part I did add at least another 35,000.00+ onto the project. This does not include 2-shops, 2-barns and a ton of fencing and missolanus stuff that came later. Mark H.


Rickstir    Posted 10-23-2003 at 09:01:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
How well do you know the area? Do you know your prospective nieghbors? One of the nightmares about what you are doing is too move in, spend money getting the place in order and finding out that your nieghbors are a bunch of jerks.
Also, contact the county commissioners and find out if there are any proposals for new roads in the area. You might want to find out also if there are any hog confinement operations planned for your general vacinity. And by that I mean within a three mile radius. That smell travels a long way. Kansas is the land of feed lots for cattle, any of those in or planned in your area?
I had to run electric just about as far as you do. Cost me $473.00 for the line and a pole with 200A box and a light. The co-op had a program that gave me back $350 for not missing a payment in the first 2 years. We bought our 350 gallon propane tank for $350.00.
Last, get county map and drive all the roads in a five mile or so area around the place, if you have not done so already.
Good luck, if it works out you are in for a wonderful, and hard adventure.


Dorothy509    Posted 10-23-2003 at 13:59:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've enjoyed all the help, would love to hear even more!
What's nice, is it's all surrounded by farmland, nearest neighbors are 3/4 a section away! Believe me, I don't mind the sound of farm equipment.
For the electric line,$473 seems pretty reasonable, who did the work? Power Co.? Did that include setting the poles? Thinking about it, I'll probably have to put in apole at or near the road,(the existing powerline runs across the road alongside my property) and run it about 150-200' to the barn, then will go te the house(my mobile home) from there, yes, a light on the pole near the barn would be just right!
Someone said about using a backhoe, will a smaller(not huge) one work for the septic job, and if I were to bury the powerline 5' down?(Although unlikely)
There's this site about pounding your well, this guy said he pounded a 67' well.
I'm not crazy,(or am I?, But will be doing everything to save money and follow those necessary regulations! I am good about getting folks to help, I like to be agood neighbor as well.
This beautiful property is surrounded by some of the oldest and largest trees, will have to be trimmed back, but where I'll need to run the line, it is fairly clear.
There is a clearing in the middle of the property, looking at the aerial view, it is a nice oval, shouln't have a problem with roots in the septic, hopefully.
Who runs your propane, can you trench it your self?
I may be able to get on city water for household, as the town is a section away, and I read about thye supply water so far out, Expensive, probably.
If I got on city water, and drilled for farm use, It may be cheaper?
Does anyone know of any good boards out there?
Thank you for all your help, I'm usually more tactful, just trying to get this journey started!


Rickstir    Posted 10-24-2003 at 05:28:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
There was only one pole for my project. We used a trencher and ran the power underground from there. First run was the to the doublewide. Likewise to the pole barm we built later. I have since added an inground house, garden shed and chicken shed. All power runs are underground. Costs more in the beginning but I absolutely HATE power lines running all over heck.
Local co-op delivers the propane. We only use for cooking but when the current electric dryer finally dies we will get a propane model. We don't hardly use any at this rate.
I dug the trench with a shovel for the propane and (forgive me) satelite dish.
I would check with locals and see how deep they have to dig for wells in your area. Maybe the county extension agent can help. Sixty-seven feet sounds awful shallow. You could run into unwanted run off stuff. What part of Kansas, I know in the eastern parts there are oil and coal deposits, that means sulfur and that is nasty in well water. HTH


Dorothy509    Posted 10-24-2003 at 14:10:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Rick, thanks for all the info!
I learned that the co-op here runs the line onto the property for free! I'll run ti underground to the house form the barn.
Good point about the well, there are some pumping units very closeby.
Good tip on the propane, I may just make good use of a trencher one day.
Thanks, would love to hear more.


Dave    Posted 10-23-2003 at 06:46:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
First step is to relax. Cup of coffee. Second is to get a phone book for the area.

Call the septic people. Ask what it would cost for installation of a new septic system. Can the guy come out to the homested and make sure the quote is accurate? Where is the best place for it if the house is here or there or whatever. Will your plans work with this? What kind of septic systems can be installed and what are the differences? Ask the expert.

Call the electric company that supplies the area and ask them what it costs to wire 200A service. What is the cost with and with-out a new pole? How much for a light on the pole?

Ditto with the propane people. Install a new tank, lines to house. Ask the price to buy a tank (do they have any used?). If you own your own tank you can choose who to buy propane from (the price difference here ranges between $1 to $1.20 this year per gallon and I CAN and DO choose every year).

If there is a well get a water sample and look around (phone book) to see who tests it. If not who did the wells or services the local area. If there is a well get an expert to look it over. How deep is it, what kind of shape is it in, etc. Since there is no power to the area, I doubt there is. Ok. Call the well people and find out how much for a well.

Land survey people are also in the phone book. Ask them what would be required to make this plot of land yours.

Local electric company: how much to install a new 200A box to the pole. If you can do the rest great.

If you come up with answers for the above great. Now, call competition for the above (you will be stuck with the local electric company) and get a second set of prices.

Going to go for it, get written quotes. Remember stories of contractors going over ($$$) their estimate.

If there is a existing house on the property. Well, if you know what to see inspect it yourself. Get a free old handy man to do the same. Then hire an expert to do the same.

Make a list. Find a handy friend to go over the list to see what you missed.


VADAVE    Posted 10-23-2003 at 06:02:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Everyone has given good advice. Here is my experience in Virginia. In the mid 90's I bought a place with a dug well 800 feet from the road and nothing else. After talking to the county I decided that the well would not be used. Since all the land around was being farmed if the well was not used constantly the coloforms would build up and the then the facuts had to be run for about 8-10 hours for good water; if the well was used constantly the water stayed good.
--First suggestion have the well water checked.
When I had the well drilled it went down 450 feet and cost (with one facuet) about $8000.
I had a septic put in to service a 4 bedroom house the cost was about $2500; lesser size will be slightly less cost.
Power. I decided, with all the farm equipment beoing moved around, to put in underground power. The good part was the cost. $2000 pluse the electric bill was a minimium of $40/month for 2 years. If you are just going 100 feet I would expect a much lesser bill.
You do need to check with the county/DOT about where the lane will be, particularly if there isn't one today.
Also check with the county on what codes will apply when you get the place back into living condition.
Good Luck and let us know what you decide and how it goes.


Les    Posted 10-23-2003 at 04:32:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Speaking only as one who works for an electric cooperative...100' ain't nothin. Like Willy N says, that can be spanned with just a service drop to the building. No pole needed.


screaminghollow    Posted 10-23-2003 at 03:27:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
Bad news good news situation, Best check with the local gov't about whether the house can even be lived in. In some areas, the code allows houses, with or without septic to be lived in if they were built and CONTINUOUSLY lived in since before the code. It's called grandfathering. In most areas, if the house was


Randy    Posted 10-23-2003 at 02:49:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sit down with a paper and pen. Write down everything the house needs and an approximate cost for each item. Add this all up with the cost of the house and land. Might be able to buy a house in move in condition for the same amount. We just bought a house yesterday actually. Needs painting and some clearing around the place but can live there today. Was cheaper then us buying a property and putting in the septic, well, etc.
Good luck.


Willy-N    Posted 10-22-2003 at 23:51:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
The electric part is fairly cut and dry. Contact the Co-Op or Electric Company for you area for a price to get a service drop hook/up. You will need a service on the home and wiring in the house to hook to. 100 ft can be done with out adding more poles if the wireing is over head and the service on the house is on the same side as the pole or in the first 1/3rd of the house. They probley have a set standard fee for a drop from the pole but again the house needs to be wired to code and permited to be hooked up to. Contact your building department for regulations on Septic and Water and get the facts first!! Wells cost a lot to put in and if the water table is deep it will cost more to do, sometimes in the 10s of thousands of dollars or less. Do your home work so you do not get burnt on the property! Get a Lawyer to look over the deed or contract. Have the home inspected by a privet party to make sure you are not buying a big can of worms. Take your time and do it right, biggest purchase of your life and a lot of people do not do it right and it costs big bucks later! Good Luck! Mark H.


bulldinkie    Posted 10-23-2003 at 04:37:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We bought 40 acres and totally restored this place.I understand what we did and what you want are different but there is alot to consider.Our house sat empty for awhile.Termites luckily we didnt have that problem,floors rotted I guess from moisture,we live back a lane about 1/2 mile It cost up 6,000 dollars to bury electric lines and my husband even dug the trench himself.Pipes that w4ert broken from freezing,furnace old out dated.We could not have done this had my husband not had his own equipment,employees ,knowledge...alot of work.and money..Butwhat a beautiful result.


Dorothy509    Posted 10-23-2003 at 08:08:55       [Reply]  [Send Email]
There is no house, what's left is apile of rotted lumber, sorry, I didn't make that clear. The nearest electric is just on the other side of the road, that runs parallel to the property.
I will be putting in the sewer myself, as the county allows, anyone else have any experience on that? I like to be resourceful, and learn how to save $ there. thanks for the info, I know you can savce a bundle there.
As far as the well, I'd like to hear of some alternatives to hiring a company. I've read afew things, some seem a little crackpot...
You just can't go down to the courthouse, or call local companies, and get some viable unconvention methods. That's a little like asking your dr. about alternative medicine!
The info about underground electic, isn't that high, even if you dig the trenches and run casing yourself.
Are there any great sites out there?


Hal/WA    Posted 10-24-2003 at 15:18:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would do some checking on just what your county requires for a septic system. In my area most of the systems that have been allowed in the last 10 or 15 years have required what is called a pressure mound instead of a conventional drainfield. A pressure mound requires an electric pump to move the effluent to a specially constructed mound of gravel and sand with lots of drainage pipes in it. These systems cost a lot--a friend of mine claims to have $20k in his. Goofy environazis! Scary.

When I put in my conventional drainfield system about 25 years ago, I was short of money. Some friends of mine had a backhoe and were doing septic systems all the time. They offered to do my whole system for, I think it was $750, supplying all the materials. I thought I could save some money by doing the work, aside from the digging, myself. I did save a little, but when all was said and done, I found that I had been doing hard physical labor with a shovel and wheelbarrow for about $.50 per hour. At least I was sure that the job had been done right. But if I had it to do over, I would have had the system installed and paid their price.

Before you get too interested in this project, you probably ought to find out if the owner actually wants to sell the property and if you can somehow get by the 10 acre minimum parcel size. The property might be tied up somehow. I would be very cautious of leasing and needing to invest much to get the property habitable. It sounds like a good way to lose your effort and money unless the lease really favors your staying there a long time. Good luck!


VADAVE    Posted 10-23-2003 at 08:31:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Underground electric--will I thought $2000 and $40/month for 2 years for 800 feet wasn't that bad--but it could be depends on your frame f reference. I really don't think you can dig the trenches unless you have a backhoe. Her in Virginia they put the wires down 5 feet to be sure nobody hits them. here the coop brought in the power and put it on a pole--which I had set and had the box installed. Built the building around the power.


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