Showing posts with label junk land. Show all posts
Showing posts with label junk land. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Shared Bug Out Location/ Retreat Ownership

This topic comes up from time to time. It is something that has personally came up as an option in my life recently so I have been thinking about it.

Before getting started I am not a lawyer, real estate agent or anything like that. Even if I was in any way qualified, which I am not, to give specific real estate advice it would only be accurate for the geographic area of my expertise. Real estate laws, zoning, etc vary such that a real estate specialist in Idaho may not know much about the specific laws in Texas. If you are seriously thinking of doing this consult a lawyer who does real estate in the area you are looking to buy in.

Personalities need to be considered as well. Do you have a personality which allows for the inevitable give and take that comes with sharing? Does the other person? If as family/ friend dynamics go can you two make it work together? If the opinionated person does more of the work and the easy going person is cool with tagging along it can work. Otherwise maybe not so much.

We will talk about the pro's and cons then have some discussion.

Pro- Pooling resources (money) This is definitely the first thing that comes to mind and I would say the primary reason people consider this sort of thing. Neither person has enough money so they pool together. At the low end this is often the difference between being able to buy into the market or not. At the higher end it is getting better quality and or a larger piece of land. Also potential for shared maintenance/ development costs (A 1/4 mile road split 2 ways is better than 1, etc) is promising.

Choosing your neighbors. I didn't think of this one right away but it came to me in time. Of course you can always take a look at the neighbors crappy meth shack compound and decide not to buy there. However in this case you get to CHOOSE your neighbors. That could have huge benefits in an emergency.

Bringing together strengths/ minimizing weaknesses. Say the rich city cousin Jill wants a place but is worried about leaving it alone. The less rich country cousin Tim is out in an area all the time and is good at building stuff but can't scrape up enough cash. Mutually beneficial arrangements can certainly exist here.


So many different issues. Any time you involve relationships and money things can get crazy in a hurry. Even removing the preparedness angle we all probably know some folks for whom the family beach house/ cabin turned into a nightmare. I don't mean to short change this but there are just so many possible ways for it to go wrong. Seriously major relationship ending problems can and often do come up.


Legal/ financial

I believe it is very important to have a clear written understanding of what the agreement is before deciding to enter into it. Ask the hard questions now before there are any issues.

What are both parties putting in and what are they getting. There are many ways to do this, especially if people bring different things to the table. I would just say to be very clear about what each person is going to put in and get out. If Tim builds Jill a cabin at cost is he now an owner and if so of what?

How will future decisions be made? What about future expenses? At a minimum this should be in writing, both people should sign it and have a copy. This way they both know what they agreed to and can refer to it in the future as needed. That being said unless it was cost prohibitive, $500 in legal agreements about a $1,500 piece of west Texas desert you are splitting with a buddy doesn't pass the common sense test, I would do this with a lawyer. They would likely bring some good points to the table and make sure everything was legal.

What if someone needs to cash out?

If at all possible I would look to legally sub divide the land/ retreat. Tom and Jane (relatives or whatever) decide to buy 10 acres. Tom gets the northern 5 and Jane gets the southern 5. They share the road that is in the middle. They legally divide it so their ownership, tax liability, etc is separate. If Tom decides to sell and Jane (or another relative) cannot buy the land he just sells it. Other than losing having a close neighbor Jane and her family are not affected. If sub dividing the land make sure both parties have water rights and necessary right of ways for access/ road use in place. That way if you stop getting along or they sell to a stranger nobody is up a creek without a paddle.

In some cases this is not possible. Zoning may prevent homes from being built on pieces of land smaller than a certain size. In some cases this can be skirted around by using tiny houses on flatbed trailers but it would likely really hurt resale (since a person could not build a traditional cabin/ home). This is something significant to consider and in my eyes would be a real negative for an area. In other cases the lay of the land would make a simple split difficult or inequitable due to a key feature (water comes to mind) being located where division would not make sense or terrain lending itself to one building site.

I think establishing Tim's land and Jane's land is important even if the way they actually do things is a lot less formal or even downright communal. This way they are both protected in some sort of a worst case situation but short of that they can do whatever they both agree to (though in some cases with real estate property rights/ ownership can be affected so check local laws, etc).

If legal division is possible you can really stop reading this.

If it is not possible/ practical then you really would need a solid agreement in place.

What if one party is supposed to pay half of the taxes and can't/ won't?

Also in general what is the plan for if a person plans to sell or dies? Does the whole place get sold or just their share? I don't know about you but I do not want to own half of a piece of land with a total stranger! Odds are they would have a hard time selling that way. In some cases agreements can be written the other party gets the first opportunity to buy the land. In others a sale might even need to be approved by specified parties.

Co Use

Are your goals similar or at least compatible? If Tim to have a raging party with a band every fall and Jane's family is trying to hunt for deer the same weekend there it's going to be problematic. Of course smaller spaces and non delineated property lines would compound this all and honestly that is not a situation I would be very comfortable with.

If people are sharing land who can do what there? If one person wants to grow corn and the other wants a mud bog to drive 4wd trucks in the same place that is an issue.

How will shared resources be used and by whom? If both families have a couple hunters and each want to bring some friends/ relatives there are going to be way too many hunters for their 10 acres. Ditto fishing, firewood collecting, etc all.

Shared structure? Is there going to be a shared structure on the land? This really complicates things, especially if the structure brings significant value to the place such that you can't give one person the structure and the other a couple more acres, or have them pay a bit less or whatever. Ending up sharing a structure really adds to the potential for complication. Now instead of sharing a field and both having camping spots you are sharing a house!

This really brings to mind all the family cabin horror stories we have heard. Everyone wants to use it labor day weekend and nobody wants to chip in for the new roof. Also what space belongs to whom and when? Are some part of the rooms each persons and they can use them whenever while others are communal? Or do the parties alternate exclusive use? Honestly in this situation (which I probably wouldn't get in) I would look hard at the timeshare model. Communal stuff like basic cook wear, etc would stay out and people would have lockers/ bins or something for their personal stuff that would stay there. Each party would be entitled to use the place so much based on their share or whatever. Still I would try not to do this.

In conclusion by being smart on the front end I think a lot of down sides can be mitigated. A situation where there are clear legal property boundaries with a legal agreement on maintaining the road or whatever has very little risk of hassle. A handshake agreement to buy a cabin between a couple people is a nightmare waiting to happen.

After writing this I realized that I primarily considered two parties who are very close friends or family. More people would make things way more complicated as would people who knew each other less well. As such I did not really feel like talking about either of those options.

Sure there is probably more. Depending on how my train of thought continues and the comments go there may be another post.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What To Do With Some Money?

If everything goes as it should I will have some money become liquid in the next month or so, between $15,000 and 20k. I am trying to figure out what to do with it. As such I am soliciting your input.

Ideas I have considered then discarded
-Beans, bullets and band aid's. I am relatively pretty good there. Of course these are always areas we are working to improve but I have a bunch of guns, cans full of ammo, literally tons of food, etc.
-Various medium to large sized prep items. FLIR, silencers, a nice rifle scope or two, etc. Will get many of these in time in due time but I can handle them (except FLIR) on a save for a couple months then buy type plan. I try hard to be smart with the occasional times I get a big chunk of cash.
-Buying a(nother) house. With my semi nomadic nature buying a place I planned to live where I am working is a lot more space than I need, plus the costs of buying/ selling as often as we move add up. Buying where I might live later would leave me as an absentee land lord for a long time. Also that would involve debt which I really don't like.
-Cash in the bank. I have an emergency fund and a vehicle replacement fund both in the bank now. Between the two that is as much exposure to that risk as I can tolerate. Still I included this in the poll on the right because it is a good 'figuring it out' short term option.

Ideas that remain with pro's and con's
-Buy land. Pro. BUG OUT SITE!!! Tangible and not going away. Will allow me to cache a bunch of stuff I have been hauling around. Like no BS I would set up a Terminator Cache!!!  Except technically a Terminator inspired cache as we should all know CONNEX's are only designed to take weight on the top corners not on the roof or sides so literally burying one would require bracing, probably via poured cement but I digress. Will give me a place I could go and live real cheap if I need to. Con. I am in the bottom end of this being feasible price wise. Fixes me to a location. As I move every 2-3 years that it is a bit more complicated than buying land 30 minutes from home. If I don't end up nearby when I settle down this could end up being a long distance thing which is not optimal.

-Buy gold/ silver. Pro. Inflation proof and (particularly silver) at pretty good prices these days. Transportable store of wealth. Con. Doesn't solve any problems for me. Also leaves me trying to physically store more assets and a higher percentage of my net worth. My risk, relative to my overall financial situation, of a catastrophic break in is already about at tolerance level now.
-Replace the soccer mom SUV. It is still running fine now but isn't getting any younger. I hope to get another year or 18 months out of it but am not totally sure that is realistic. Since I do not borrow money for vehicles this will be a major expense. Pro. Solves a significant financial/ life problem I have coming up. Con. This is the closest thing to a nest egg I have and using it for a short term (vehicles constantly need fixing/ replacing) problem seems penny wise and pound foolish. Used right I think this money could go a long way to setting me up in a decent spot. Also I feel like having the upcoming need to replace the vehicle will help me be disciplined in saving for that while I might not be so disciplined to put money back in the bank (or whatever) to replace what came out. Worst case if the vehicle I have now dies before I have the cash to replace it outright I could borrow from my emergency fund or get a loan for some of the money and pay it off in a hurry, which ever made the most sense.

-Something else I didn't mention?

My gut says if I can make it work land is the preferred option. 

Please vote in the poll on the left and leave your comments here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stop Backing Yourself Into a Corner

One of the wonderful things about America is that it is a very free country. Maybe not quite as free as it was at some other point but people living in the good ole USA have more rights, protections and freedom to do what they please than in just about every other country in the world.

So often people back themselves into a corner in terms of lifestyle and the resulting debt/ expenses. They have to live in this kind of house, drive this type of vehicle (or even a vehicle at all), charge stuff they can't afford and whatever. The result is that they are in an uncomfortable situation. These folks often turn around and blame everybody but themselves for their circumstances. It is a big picture version of eating a big mac and extra jumbo fries with a large milkshake for lunch every day and blaming other people for why you are fat.

If you don't like the amount of money you can make then get a degree or some certification or skill to become more valuable to an employer or customer. It is a lot more productive than whining. If you do not want a mortgage then find some kind of alternate housing you can afford to pay cash for. Maybe get a little piece of land paid for free and clear. Hate the idea of an HOA then don't buy a house in one. If zoning restrictions in your current location prevent this kind of action and you really still want to do it then MOVE to somewhere you can do what you want. If you want to home school your kids then move to a home school friendly area. Don't like the tax laws in your state? Move to a different one. Don't like your city/ states gun laws? Vote with your feet. If you want to be able to shoot an AK-47 from the front porch naked at 3 in the morning then start in a state that is cool with the AK-47 and then find a place with no nearby neighbors. If you don't want to deal with car insurance, registration and such then don't have a car. Live within biking/ walking range or public transport routes to the places you need to go. Maybe arrange to go to Costco with a cool neighbor who has a big van every month or two. If you don't want a credit card then don't have one. Don't like debt; too easy simply do not borrow money from anybody. If you hate paying taxes then make conscious (legal of course) choices to limit your tax liability.  This is checkers, not chess. Simply make choices to not be involved in things you don't want to be involved with and to be in the situation you want to be in. 

Of course because this is simple doesn't mean it is easy. Just like dieting or household budgets knowing what you should do and easy implimentation are very different things. Every decision has second and third order effects. You might like some parts of an area (family, work, recreation, etc) and hate the restrictive laws. Not having a vehicle sucks but you don't need insurance or vehicle inspections. Living in a nice house is more spacious and comfortable than a travel trailer or a shack/ tent. Generally places where you can buy a piece of land for the price of a decent pistol and do whatever you want on it kind of suck. They are far from jobs, may not have water or are otherwise undesirable. Hence the name junk land.

The thing is that you have to make a choice as to what is more important. Often nice places to live where there are plenty of good jobs and fun things to do have expensive housing costs. So either move to a place where you can afford to live comfortably or stay where you are and gripe about the rent/ mortgage/ taxes.

The old saying about construction comes to mind; a job can be done fast, cheap and right but you only get to pick two of them. Inevitably there are difficult choices and compromises to be made on all fronts (housing, location, work, vehicles, debt, tax and gun laws, zoning, etc).

The important word in that last paragraph is CHOICES. I'm not telling you that you must do anything (though it would be nice if you clicked on one of our ads and suggested the blog to a friend;) but am telling you that you can choose. The real interesting part is that this stuff can snowball big time. If you don't need to make a big rent/ mortgage payment then maybe you can quit that horrible job. You could then try a business idea that has been in your head for awhile. If you don't need to impress people at that fancy job then maybe an older paid off vehicle (or no vehicle at all) will work just fine. With all that time you aren't at work all kinds of things could be done.

Take some responsibility and ownership over your life. Figure out what is really important to you. Think outside the box and focus on what is important to you and your family, not the Johnson's, or anybody else. Make the inevitable hard choices and create the kind of life that you really want to have.

Friday, November 20, 2009

quote of the day

"There should be no tax upon property. It makes us serfs."
-Wyn Boniface

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Raiding the Emergency Fund: When and to What End?

First of all don't worry things are fine here at the TOR household. No need to raid the emergency fund, in fact we will add to it this week on pay day. I have just been thinking.....

Under what conditions should you raid the emergency fund?
1. If you are married, domestically partnered, living in sin, coupled up or really in any other situation where you share money with another person only get into that account with both people being involved. This isn't the way to cover up (not that you should be covering up anything but that is not the point) that you spent a bit too much on naked dancing girls, designer shoes, poker night, handbags or whatever. Obviously things are really bad (not borrow a few bucks from a friend bad but ski mask and handgun kind of bad) or you would not be wanting to raid the emergency fund. Do you really want things to be that bad AND have an incredibly pissed off spouse? I certainly wouldn't. Sit down and have a serious conversation about what is going on and what the two of you are going to do to get through it. Make this decision together.

2. What are you going to raid the emergency fund for? First of all if married, etc all read above again. Second this is personal and you might have a different answer than I. To me it is for covering sudden unavoidable expenses (think broke down car or sudden plane ticket home to bury a close relative, not a deal on a .308 or a boat or a diamond ring), job loss or something else completely lame and unexpected like a house fire or needing to flee a natural disaster and spend a month in a motel in Nebraska. I think it is good to keep it open because you don't know what sort of crappy thing is going to happen to you but the odds are over any given decade at least one probably will.

To what end will you use these funds is the more unique thought I have been mulling over.

One of my low probability (lower than being mugged but higher than say a lightning strike) concerns is something getting completely fucked at work. My job is very stable, like prostitution and gambling stable. As long as our Federal Government exists in anything near its current state my industry will be safe. For the foreseeable future given our current world circumstances (two conflicts, various threats on the horizon) we will probably be a growth industry. Given said current circumstances there isn't really much of a worry about job stability because people are leaving left and right, if you stay in you will move up.

However just because things are pretty stable doesn't mean they are 100% guaranteed and reliable for every person. Anything can happen in life (everything is just fine at work don't worry) like sometimes a boss gets a serious case of the ass at someone and crushes them in evals or a subordinate does something stupid and they crucify the first officer and NCO in line so I have thought about it a little bit.

I make pretty good money but it is our only income. [Wifey is looking like crazy and hopefully will find a job that will make her happy soon.] Also there are not a whole lot of places where my current skill set would be valued without a real change in scenery and job conditions. It isn't exactly like I am a plant manager in a town with 8 plants.

Odds are we would get home and spend a couple months with relatives but it could be awhile before we were back to around our current income. Lets say that before we got back to meaningful work things came to a head at the relatives place (doubt it would but lets say it did). Right now we have more than enough to buy a piece of junkish land in the general area we want to settle plus get some sort of a functional shelter (travel trailer, mobile home, etc) to put on it sitting in the bank. We could live all Dakin like on around minimum wage for a long time in this sort of situation. Heck we could do this on what I would get in unemployment.

The reason we (might potentially ) choose to take this extreme course instead of just getting an apartment or whatever then looking for jobs is that we would not know when real jobs could be had and the odds are it would be awhile. In two years time things would be fine but there would probably be a rough 6-9 months before then. There would be a high probability that things would come to head in terms of finances (if we kept more or less our current budget) before jobs could be had so we would need to drastically change expenses to survive.

Some folks say to have a 6 month emergency fund, some say 12 months or maybe even 18. Heck why don't you just have a 96 month security fund as well as 400 ounces of gold, $100,000 face in 90% silver, a dozen M1a's and a 12,000 acre retreat! The simple answer is that we live in a world of unlimited desires and limited resources. Most folks need to scrimp and save and sacrifice just to bank a little bit each month and keep it there till it adds up to much of anything.

Also money that is sitting in an FDIC insured account (or a safe) is money that can not be put towards anything else. To me as a relatively young person the idea of saving up 12-18 months wages before starting to save for a home down payment doesn't make a lot of sense. I would rather have less in the bank (say 4 months) and be paying myself instead of some other guy.

My point is that it might not be bad to have a contingency plan for radical long term or even permenant changes in income. You might (depending on your funding,age, levels of risk, etc) not even need to do anything toward putting this plan in motion unless your personal circumstances really change but it is probably wise to think this one out for awhile and discuss it with the spouse.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Buying Land Now

This came up in the comments section of a recent post. Instead of responding immediately I decided to mull it over a bit.

Yes, I plan on purchasing some land in a place we could potentially settle in the not that distant future. In terms of priority that falls after purchasing a home. Paying for a piece of land (cash or a note/ loan) we are not going to really use for years while renting a primary residence would make no sense to me. After we purchase a home a few acres will probably be the next significant investment.

In the area I am thinking of we could get 5 acres or so for a pretty reasonable price. Probably not a ready to build on site but not total junk land either. Depending on the exact location it could be useful as a camp site/ vacation place and a cache site.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quality Junk Land- Sort Of A Rant

This topic comes up from time to time and it annoys the heck out of me. We all want to have our cake and eat it to but that just is not how life works. Maybe it is just the phrase "quality junk land" that irritates me. In any case here it goes.

I guess we should try to narrow down exactly what we are talking about. To me junk land is cheap land that is not particularly desirable. Maybe there is no water, or it is 40 miles from town, or it is a small piece or it is all at a 30 degree angle, etc. What exactly the top $ limit for junk land would have to be figured out individually but for most people it would not be more then a few thousand bucks. I guess quality would mean that the piece of land is desirable for your needs, this is much murkier then junk land.

Broadly speaking the whole junk land thing seems to have a bigger disconnect from reality due to romantic notions then RV living. People seem to think that for a couple grand they can get a nice little piece of land and it will all just be kitties and butterflies. You've got to lower expectations and get closer to reality.

For those trying to do the whole junk land thing here are my suggestions. First figure out what the amount of money you are working with is. Next figure out a pretty general idea of where you want land. Depending on your ability and desire to relocate this area could be limited to a county or two or it could be a larger area. If you need to be within X miles of Y place it is going to be a lot harder then if you are packing up the truck and moving out there to go all Dakin.

Hopefully your dollar amount leaves you with some options in the area you want to purchase land. If this is not the case then you can look in another area or scrap the idea at least for awhile. Looking in another area might or might not be realistic. Commuting 200 miles a day to save a couple grand on a land purchase would not make sense in any way.

The last option would be to readjust your criteria. Maybe instead of two acres you look for one, buy land that was just logged instead of having a nice little forest, a place farther from the paved road, etc. I am a big believer that if you can't afford to buy what you want then either live without or wait till you can afford it. Unless your initial desire was totally unrealistic the odds are lowering your criteria will not lead to long term happiness. If you are going to try this path I suggest using the WALLS acronym (water, access, location, light, security) to figure out what is essential and stick with it.

I guess the big theme of junk land should be lowered expectations.
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