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braindead0

things to watch out for when purchasing desert property

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We found a place where a bunch of property was subdivided into 40 acre lots, 3 squares worth.  Did some digging into property records, most of the lots sold for around $3k in 2010.  The area is not likely to be developed. I suspect it was one of those usual desert land deals where they advertise heavily out of state and suckers buy in.  One of the properties sold for nearly $10k in 2011 and then $3,875 in 2015!

I wrote letters to a dozen of the 'prime' (in our opinion) property owners, got an email from one today so it's paying off already!  They offered to sell it to us for what they paid (which was too much from what I can tell).

Our purpose is mostly recreation/camping.  Maybe by the time I'm ready to retire solar will be more feasible, wireless internet reliable and ubiquitous and we can move there.  Maybe not.

I'll check the obvious stuff like drainage, not being in a sink, mountain runoff..etc...  The properties we're looking at are all close enough to a county road, so access isn't should be fairly easy. 

Wondering what other stuff to look for? 

If anyone wants I'd be happy to share the bounty of sub $200/acre land opportunities.. *after* we've found ours or given up ;-)

edited to add: the properties we're looking at are north of I80 east of Pyramid Lake west of Lovelock.  Middle of nowhere, but nice dirt county road.  Pershing county.

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On 3/12/2018 at 5:27 PM, braindead0 said:

We found a place where a bunch of property was subdivided into 40 acre lots, 3 squares worth.  Did some digging into property records, most of the lots sold for around $3k in 2010.  The area is not likely to be developed. I suspect it was one of those usual desert land deals where they advertise heavily out of state and suckers buy in.  One of the properties sold for nearly $10k in 2011 and then $3,875 in 2015!

I wrote letters to a dozen of the 'prime' (in our opinion) property owners, got an email from one today so it's paying off already!  They offered to sell it to us for what they paid (which was too much from what I can tell).

Our purpose is mostly recreation/camping.  Maybe by the time I'm ready to retire solar will be more feasible, wireless internet reliable and ubiquitous and we can move there.  Maybe not.

I'll check the obvious stuff like drainage, not being in a sink, mountain runoff..etc...  The properties we're looking at are all close enough to a county road, so access isn't should be fairly easy. 

Wondering what other stuff to look for? 

If anyone wants I'd be happy to share the bounty of sub $200/acre land opportunities.. *after* we've found ours or given up ;-)

edited to add: the properties we're looking at are north of I80 east of Pyramid Lake west of Lovelock.  Middle of nowhere, but nice dirt county road.  Pershing county.

I'd certainly be interested, once you've done your shopping. 

I'd be curious to know whether any of the deeds grant subsurface rights - water, minerals, etc. or not.  I'm assuming you've already checked zoning and county requirements for habitation - septic/sewer, etc. and checked for any RS2477 roads that might impact your plans? 

Personally, I think it would be interesting to build *underground* - you get the thermal blanket of dirt and maintain a much lower profile.  Sort of like Owen and Beru's place on Tatooine, but not quite as large. :)

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The properties are in the county.  Land Use Code is 100 (vacant), Zoning Code (aka Land Use Designation) is AMR "Agriculture-Mining-Recreation".  It allows housing in conjunction with those activities.   The county master plan lists AMR allowing for wells, septic systems.  The Pershing County Development Code division 3 has a table of 'Residential Land Use Types" showing AMR allowing single family home among other buildings.  I'm finding no code that would disallow a house, the bit in the master plan about allowing housing in conjunction with 'Agriculture/Mining/Recreation' activities could possibly be an issue.  I intend to visit the county offices and ask a lot of questions. 

I don't think the deeds grant any subsurface rights...    Here's partial text of the first deed document recorded for one of these properties:

Quote

 

valuable consideration of..x.....grant unto, the following lands and property, together with all improvements located thereon, lying in the County of Pershing, State of Nevada.

Lot <x> more details about location, sec, township, map,etc.

To have and to hold together with all tenements, hereditaments, and appurtenances, including Easement for water rights if any thereto belonging or appertaining and any reversions, remainders, Rents, issues or profits thereof.

 

The 3 sections that were broke into 40 acres lots are checkerboard land, at least judging by the layout of the BLM land in that area.  There are several ranches and farming operations nearby so I think water is available, whether we'd be able to drill or not I think would depend on whatever rights existed for the section prior to be subdivided?  Docs for that aren't online.

I did not check for any RS 2477 roads, first I've heard of it ;-).  However the area is a fair distance from any likely plans I think.  I did review a bunch of proposed wilderness, areas in Pershing County, as far as I can tell none are close enough to be of concern.

Got another hit, this one seems very sketchy, bad engrish..  The name on his email doesn't match any of the property owners, his first email didn't include the property description/location and just said (all in the email subject no less) "about the Reno 's land please give me your offer than I consider . Thank you by the way you can call my agent MR Saeid Hariri".   When I questioned which property, he got back to me with that info and also sent this "By the way the owner's name is .. " he wasn't the owner, he's not he agent..... not sure why he replied or had my letter at all.

I'm going to not pursue that property unless it's the only option left ;-)

If you want to look into similar properties, at least in Pershing county I've found this to be immensely helpful: http://farrwest.geonorth.com/mox6/PershingCounty_Public.cfm?action=mox6_view_interface&CFID=711331&CFTOKEN=81310724

With just the 'Pershing County Base Layers' enabled, zoom out and you can very easily see the squares that have been broken up for resale.   Select the 'identify' option under the 'Query/Info' menu:

query.png.2ea1125b4f87e47a0f40a90c44b2e688.png

 

Then you can click on properties and it'll display all sorts of useful property info.   The site can be very slow, if you enable Arial Imagery it can take a long time to pull that info.. sometimes failing completely.  I've had to fiddle with it to get imagery.

I've also figured out how to export large chunks of assessor sales history for properties, and KML files of the lot boundaries.  Hope to head out there and get a closer look, we have permission to walk one of the lots.

Our plans are to use it mostly as camping/rockhounding base camp.  Developing something underground on the sly is certainly on the table.  One possibly annoyance about this particular area, I think there are some squatters on a couple of the properties.  However we've run into folks out there and they've been pleasant.

I pulled all records for the 45 lots in that general area, found some chinese guy that paid $13,000 for one of the crappiest lots in the grouping...  Also the person who originally broke this up for sale (Dave Pardun) had been in a lot of legal trouble in AZ for scamming people, selling properties that didn't exist or lots that had not been legally created.  I reviewed all documents related to these properties and it appears he did it correctly.

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Sounds like the Ryepatch / Humboldt properties I was checking out a few years ago. If so, there is a guy who sells a lot of property there for great prices if you contact him directly. 

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Do you remember who that was?  We've been watching property around Lovelock, Ryepatch and Coal Canyon for years and the prices seem to run $500-$2000 per acre for vacant land.  This stuff we're looking at is all under $200/acre,  and at least for us has a great location...

If you wanted to know location, let me know.. I'll PM it do you.. 

 

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For what its worth, Pershing property taxes are higher than Humboldt, but don’t know how they compare to Washoe.

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Good point.

The tax valuation of every ~40 acre vacant lot I've looked at in Pershing county is $1050, taxes are around $30 a year.  At least initially we wouldn't be likely to improve the property in any discernible way ;-)  HIdden underground bunkers don't add value i think ;-)

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Okay, we're passing on the 3 we've had response from so far.  One guy wanted $30k for a POS lot bordered on all sides by other private lots... no access roads..etc..  Another was very odd, never actually talked to the owner some random guy wanted me to make an offer.. then gave me the phone number for his 'agent' and also the phone for the owner.  That one seemed too weird... and the lot wasn't all that great.

The owners of 003-900-015 are a nice couple in Santa Barbara.  Attached kmz file has the rough borders.  Lot is pretty flat, no sings of heavy run off.. and it adjacent to a well maintained dirt road.  They purchased the lot for $7,900 and were at that time willing to sell for that. 

That being said, our research into prices in the area pegs the median price for good lots (accessible) around $3,500.   There may be issues getting permits to build, so I wouldn't plan on it being buildable at least without a lot of effort. 

If anyone is interested in making an offer/buying PM me and I'll pass along contact information for the owners. My advice to them was hold on to it for the long run, the property taxes are cheap.. they have young kid(s).. maybe some day it'll be worth something.

 

Parcels_With_Sat.PNG

Feature.kmz

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I haven't delved into it in full detail.  The nut job property owner who think his lot if worth $30k stated

Quote

the county is tough , you can build residential but I doubt youd get a permit to “meet their requirements” anything bigger than 200 square feet at the moment. Due to corruption “in my opinion” in the planning and building under “master plan” as seen on their website . They don’t want homes out there in that beautiful valley.

Here's what the 2012 master plan has to say about AMR land use code (which is how this property is currently categorized):

Quote

Agriculture-Mining-Recreation (AMR) (160 acres) (Unionville)

Intent: The agriculture-mining-recreation designation is intended to allow agricultural, mining and recreation uses, along with housing needed in conjunction with these activities. This designation applies to open areas with limited or no road access, water, sewer, and emergency services.

Development Guidelines: Development in the agriculture-mining-recreation designation is appropriate under the following conditions.


A. Conservation: The environmental character of sensitive or unique natural features must be identified (i.e., moderately steep or steep slopes, potential wetlands, and floodplains) and the impacts mitigated according to applicable policies and ordinances.

B. Land Use and Transportation: Typically one unit per 160 acres (or 1⁄4 of a section), but provides for additional single family dwellings or bunkhouse to support farms and mining operations, as well as commercial electricity generation, telecommunication facilities, feedlots and industrial activities, subject to special review. Adjacent land uses shall be compatible. The agriculture-mining-recreation designation is most compatible with the following land use designations: general rural, low density rural, public and semi-public facilities and open space.

C. Public Services and Facilities: The area typically lacks public services and facilities necessary to support development. Approval of development shall be on a case-by-case basis based on type of development proposed and necessary requirements for public services and facilities.

 

 

The "(160 acres)  (Unionville)" seems to imply this is only intended to cover a limited area, these properties are nowhere near Unionville.

There are buildings on one lot next to lot 13, as well as some 'structures'/RV's on another lot.  However the county doesn't seem to know about them according to property records.  AFAIK there has been no permitted improvements made to any of the 45 lots on the above map.

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I think I found the likely cause of issues.   Pershing county development code chapter 503 in http://pershingcounty.net/images/stories/pc_files/planning/Division_Five.pdf

Which refers back to 17.106.85 in chapter one, and here's crux of it I think:

Quote

C. Divisions into Parcels Smaller Than 1⁄4 Section after June 30, 2007: Subsequent to June


30, 2007, all maps, creating parcels in the AMR with less than 160 acres (or 1⁄4 of the
section if the section has less than 640 acres), shall provide a provision explaining in
clear language that the parcels which are less than 160 acres or 1⁄4 of a section, do not
have any residential building rights.

I'm not sure when these lots were created.  There's an entry on 6/26/2007 with a note: "DIVISION INTO LARGER PARCELS" http://www.pershingcountynv.net:1401/cgi-bin/diw201?CGIOption=Detail&DocNo=355787&DocSf=&Party=1&Seq=1

Seems unusual to divide a section into larger parcels.   The document is not available online, it should be so I asked the county recorder.

Also there are further requirements, must have <35 minutes away from nearest fire station.  Must demonstrate supply of electricity and phone service.  Must have adequate potable water source.  Access roads that meet requirement of 17.503 and 'has a plan for use of the property which will justify the change, and signs an agreement to implement and finalize the plan for new land use withing two years".  .. the list goes on and on including providing a standpipe for fire department use with it's own separate pump and power supply...

I think the nutjob is right, they don't want any development there...

edited: The requirement "Has an emergency response time as determined by the County that is less than 35 minutes away from the nearest County Fire House/Station (Emergency Response Time shall be determined by calculating the time it
takes to travel from the nearest County Firehouse/Station to the parcel/home, traveling at the current speed limits on the most direct route over County or State roads)"

Cannot be met according to Google Maps, nearest fire department (of any sort) is 45 minutes away.
 

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Just got a response on 003-910-013.  Going to pass on that, these lots just don't make sense except as a possible long term 'maybe some day' they'll be worth enough to justify holding.

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I think the takeaway from all this is, check property land use and development codes first.  I think for most people these lots are useless, I have no doubt that the original seller was in essence scamming people.  He has a long history of run ins with the law related to land dealings in Arizona and Texas, escaped any consequences by dying a couple of years ago (or..hrm..faked death? ;-)

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I haven't dug as deep as you have, but "AMR" - ag, mining, recreation.  It's not zoned residential, at least not in a traditional R/R1/R3 scheme.  Given the restrictions were passed in 2007, I think the object was to stop a big developer from grabbing cheap land and plunking down a subdivision.  2007 was just before the Great Recession, building was booming, land was cheap, and money was easy.  I think that because:

"has a plan for use of the property which will justify the change, and signs an agreement to implement and finalize the plan for new land use withing two years".

I figure it left the county an easy out if someone bought up the land and started filing for permits.  The fire station clause sounds like a "pay to play" - you want to build homes, you fund services.  Since the state gets more involved in utilities than with local fire districts, it was probably an easy method for the county to poison pill any development by shady outfits without real $. 

What you do is start a "boutique" goat farm - Blackjack Pershing's Goat Cheese!, build the necessary structures, incl. home, to code, with permits, and be done with it.  Then a year later, sell the goats, maybe turn one into stew and tacos, and call it good.  :)

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What *I* do is enjoy all boondocking I want.. tax dollars have been paying for that.... 

I do like the boutique goat farm and cheesemaking, I could sell that to my wife with three words (cute+goats+cheesmongering).   Feel free to take on that project, we'd be glad to help...... stop by and feed the goats..  ;-)

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Lol.  The only goats I like are 1) the silly 'fainting' ones and 2) the ones roasting on a spit that my Greek friends make. 

Maybe you could go underground.  Get some land, claim you're going to do a little recreational mining, and build a very nice Hobbit Hole.  When I was a kid I fell in love with the idea of Bilbo's home.  In the movie it was more or less as I'd imagined.  I'd live there if I didn't need the extra headroom.

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I'm 6'2".. a HobbitSquatch hole would work ;-).  My wife wouldn't be able to handle underground, unless it was built by professionals and you didn't even know you were underground. 

There are some lots that include a good portion of a mountainside, but no hits on those... 

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Well, Hobbit holes appear to be rather airy, and admit a decent bit of sunlight, so I think your better 3/4 would be alright.  :)  As for height, I guess sometimes there are advantages to me being a short little shit. 

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She has a serious fear of collapse/cave in general.. not sure if airy would cut it..  If the inside looked like a normal house (not raw stone/dirt) probably be fine... 

Last time I went into a cave I was probably about 17... walking about all stooped over isn't good for the back or neck, and crawling is undignified....I've left my cave/mine exploring days waaay behind me ;-)..  Have thought about building an ROV, however that would only work if it had remote operable tools/arms so I could collect stuff ;-)

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