BUYING RURAL LAND / MOVING TO THE COUNTRY

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Mon, Nov 28, 2011 - 2:19pm
treefrog
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nursery ads

all this talk about back-to-the-land stuff has me looking at nursery ads. "english" (really carpathian) walnuts look interesting ...hmmm. another couple varieties of pecan couldn't hurt ...hmmm there are a couple interesting full-size chestnuts ...hmmmm. maybe four acres isn't enough. ... no, wait, there's a spot over by the fence that another tree might just fit without crowding the open space too much...

katie, there are even a couple kinds of pecan that will grow in your zone (the ad says). check out the osage pecan and the hican at willis orchards (berlin, ga).

treefrog land and cattle co.
Mon, Nov 28, 2011 - 4:35pm
BagOfGold
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90% efficient heating...

Katie...

Thank You So Much for starting this thread...& also for all of your selfless help...with trying to make this world a better place to live!...Canada can be a very cold place to live...& even more expensive when it comes to heating our homes...Help is on the way...90% efficient heating..."perhaps" means heating our humble homes during the winter on 1/4 cord of wood...(maybe a bit more wood...in Canada)!...Folks...please have a look at rocket stove mass furnaces...& rocket stove cookers...they may save your life!...Here are some links!!!...

https://www.richsoil.com/rocket-stove-mass-heater.jsp

https://www.youtube.com/paulwheaton12

https://www.permies.com/t/1078/alternative-energy/rocket-stove-butt-warmer

https://picasaweb.google.com/102386522735745222307/DanaAnnexRocketStove?...

Katie & everyone...please keep safe & warm!!!...

Bag Of Gold

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 12:32am
Rear Flank Downdraft
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@Rotwang, treefrog and Katie RE: Communal Effort.....

Thanks to each of you for your insightfully pithy responses and informative anecdotes.

And then of course the arguments about who did what to that which became someone else's piece after the split and on and on. Worked really well while it was just a dream and an empty lot...............goes to shit when people show up though.

Definitely a salient point there for sure. One can become ensconced with just the idea of it until you get there and you're looking at each other wondering what to do next. Well, certainly, one would hope that one could mitigate and marginalize those kinds of pitfalls encountered when conflicts arise, because I know there will be some and they can get nasty. I suppose it would behoove one to know just with whom it is you'd enter into such a lifestyle, and know them well.

it turned into a neighborhood of middle aged, middle class ex hippies with land held by a condominium association. more rules than a homeowners' association. i used to date a woman who lived there and was always at odds with her neighbors because she kept chickens. her birds got out from time to time and ate some of the yuppies' flower gardens.

Very sobering.....and rather entertaining, these kinds of stories from the outside looking in. It's no wonder the connotations roused by the word, "commune," run the gambit on all that we tend to suspect the worst of our human nature. Still underscores the need for truly knowing potential candidates for living in proximity and requires and certain kind of intentionality...

Long and short of it was nobody was there to help me plant, weed, water, etc. But when harvest time came they threw a big harvest party. People I had never seen showed up and harvested my entire garden, with the blessing of the commune leader.

Whoopee!!!!!!!!! Free food!!!!!!

And nobody could understand why I was so upset. They thought I was selfish by not wanting to share.

I love communal living, but sure do not love the adultery, free sex, drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc. that goes with it. People hide things from one another and you have no way of knowing if someone who is joining you is an addict, is having an affair, or engaged in other self destructive behavior.

From my experience, it is better to buy a small little property. 1/2 acre of level land properly managed will give a great garden and small orchard. I would advise having control over your property, rather than putting yourself in a position where others control your ability to survive.

That people would mooch like that is not surprising, but is still infuriating nonetheless, so I feel your pain there for sure. Wise words for sure.....

Perhaps some more information on what motivated my inquiry..... My wife and I came to our current location in 2000 to start a church and we've been pastoring it ever since. We are a small band of house church-type communities in a university town. I also mentor some other church planters as well (and we still maintain our denominational affiliation so we have levels of accountability). As a pastor, I am well-acquainted with the absolute rottenness and destitution of soul and just plain senselessness of the human condition (especially, the 18-25 year old human condition, whose habitat is a town with a population 23,000 and about 70 bars). I've just about seen it all here, so I don't have any delusions about human fallibility, be it perpetrated by a Christian, or not. It's just as easy to hide a bevy of bad behavior beneath the "Christian" moniker.

If I'd envision something like this, (and my apologies for doing so out loud here), I don't see so much of an open-ended kind of living situation wherein invitations are made to complete strangers to participate for the long term (or even warm acquaintances for that matter). We'd certainly welcome the stranger, but there would have to be a process for incorporation. If there were some rough parallels to what we've been thinking (and I do mean very rough), we would be seeking such a common venture together as part of a sense of mission to one another and the community at large (we'd still keep our close university ties). Kind of a neo-monastic-type of community, maybe even borrowing bits here and there from ancient Celtic Christian traditions.

We've "done" community before and had many temporary communal living situations (and one currently ongoing) that have been quite successful (but messy and hard), but we've been limited by physical space. We are the kind of church community wherein we are able to do a lot with particularly needy people and nurture them to greater overall health. So that kind of hospitality would be a hallmark. But we need space. And we are not afraid to discipline as we have had to get tough in the past. There are others of us who feel called to having a suburban and urban presence as well, we all sense a growing awareness that suburban conveniences are not lasting. Of course, I could establish some of my theological reasons for looking toward a move to land, but I'll stop here, and thank you for letting me lay out some stuff and welcome further insights .

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 5:03pm
Katie Rose
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FINANCING RURAL LAND

If you are unable to purchase your land/home free and clear there are a few financing options.

The first we all know about - bank and credit union financing.

The second is owner financing. This can take many forms. Partial trade, Note and Deed of Trust, Real Estate Contract, and selling the Note or Contract to a third party, or a Wrap.

The third financing option is third party financing. It is quite common for third parties who live in the area to provide financing privately. They usually want a sizable down (25%) and an interest rate a point or two higher than banks or credit unions. They usually will finance using a Real Estate Contract, which I am going to be sharing about below.

I am personally only aware of three instruments that convey title. I suspect there are more, especially in this real estate climate.

The first is Note and Deed of Trust. This is by far the safest and most fair instrument for all parties (Win/Win) and the only one that I recommend. This is the instrument used by banks and credit unions. Real estate companies have blank copies of a Note and Deed of Trust that is attached to the Purchase and Sale Agreement and must be agreed upon by both parties as part of the Sales Contract so that there are no surprises at closing. Title companies also have blank copies of the Note and Deed of Trust. In Western Washington the largest MLS (NW MLS) will only allow their members to use a specific Note and Deed of Trust agreed upon by their group of attorneys that represent both buyers and sellers. Real Estate Contracts and Wraps are not allowed.

Another instrument is a Real Estate Contract. It is a different instrument that favors the seller in their ability to get the property back in the case of default. This is most often used in rural areas. You may find that you have a first class battle on your hands if you insist on a Note and Deed of Trust rather than a Real Estate Contract. Consulting an attorney who specializes in Real Estate would be worth your while if the seller insists on a Real Estate Contract. I do not like them at all as they really do favor the seller.

The third instrument is a Wrap. It is illegal. It is where the seller keeps his original loan, than wraps the loan with another instrument that the originating lender is not aware of. What is supposed to happen is the purchaser pays a down payment directly to the seller, than the seller receives a payment from the buyer every month that he/she passes on to the bank. I don't think it takes any more explanation to see how terribly the buyer can get screwed on this one.

Often in rural areas there are private parties that will act as a bank. Their information is available from the broker/owners of the real estate offices in the area. These parties will often purchase the Note or Contract from the seller at a discount once the property has closed.

Bottom line, if your purchase involves owner financing, consult an attorney. A good way to find a good real estate attorney is to call large real estate offices (Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ReMax, etc.) in a neighboring city and ask who the office's attorney is. Real Estate Offices have attorneys on retainer that specialize in real estate. An attorney from the same small town as the seller's attorney may be part of an Old Boy's Network and reluctant to do battle on behalf of an unknown, out of area buyer.

I wouldn't purchase with owner financing without an my attorney reviewing all the paperwork.

To summarize:

Note and Deed of Trust

Real Estate Contract

A Wrap

Consulting a good real estate attorney if owner financing is involved

I hope this helps! Owner financing can be very tricky...

CA Lawyer, if you read this, feel free to add to, amend or correct.

Katie Rose

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 5:13pm
Katie Rose
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Bag of Gold and Rocket Stoves

Thanks for the information on Rocket Stoves! I didn't know that folks were building them to heat things other than food in emergencies.

Our farm house is an architectural mess. The only way to heat it is in the basement with a large wood/electric furnace. Last year we used about 12 cords of wood.

This year it is not looking good for wood conservation. We began burning in mid September due to below freezing temperatures.

I am going to start looking for someone who is knowledgeable about rocket stoves in this area, as 12 cords is just plain too much wood to gather and burn each year...

Katie Rose

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 8:15pm
Be Prepared
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Wood Burning Efficiency

Hi Katie,

Dr. J turned me onto your thread..... Great Job and love the discussion. Just thought I might throw out something for your consideration.....as you know, 12 cords is awful lot of wood to head a medium sized structure. I have helped a few friends build out their farms with outside wood burning furnances, which are very efficient and should significant reduce your wood chopping requirements.

Here's a company (no affliation or endorsement) that manufactures the type of product I'm talking about:

https://www.centralboiler.com/applications.php

https://www.heatmor.com/residential-models.php

These units can be tied into your hot water system and radiant floor system.

I hope that helps out in your research of potential solutions.

Plan for Tomorrow, but Work your Plan Today

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 8:25pm
treefrog
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richard russell's son is a prepper!

treefrog land and cattle co.
Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 9:29pm Katie Rose
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Katie Rose wrote:If you are

Katie Rose wrote:

If you are unable to purchase your land/home free and clear there are a few financing options.

The first we all know about - bank and credit union financing.

The second is owner financing. This can take many forms. Partial trade, Note and Deed of Trust, Real Estate Contract, and selling the Note or Contract to a third party, or a Wrap.

The third financing option is third party financing. It is quite common for third parties who live in the area to provide financing privately. They usually want a sizable down (25%) and an interest rate a point or two higher than banks or credit unions. They usually will finance using a Real Estate Contract, which I am going to be sharing about below.

I am personally only aware of three instruments that convey title. I suspect there are more, especially in this real estate climate.

The first is Note and Deed of Trust. This is by far the safest and most fair instrument for all parties (Win/Win) and the only one that I recommend. This is the instrument used by banks and credit unions. Real estate companies have blank copies of a Note and Deed of Trust that is attached to the Purchase and Sale Agreement and must be agreed upon by both parties as part of the Sales Contract so that there are no surprises at closing. Title companies also have blank copies of the Note and Deed of Trust. In Western Washington the largest MLS (NW MLS) will only allow their members to use a specific Note and Deed of Trust agreed upon by their group of attorneys that represent both buyers and sellers. Real Estate Contracts and Wraps are not allowed.

Another instrument is a Real Estate Contract. It is a different instrument that favors the seller in their ability to get the property back in the case of default. This is most often used in rural areas. You may find that you have a first class battle on your hands if you insist on a Note and Deed of Trust rather than a Real Estate Contract. Consulting an attorney who specializes in Real Estate would be worth your while if the seller insists on a Real Estate Contract. I do not like them at all as they really do favor the seller.

The third instrument is a Wrap. It is illegal. It is where the seller keeps his original loan, than wraps the loan with another instrument that the originating lender is not aware of. What is supposed to happen is the purchaser pays a down payment directly to the seller, than the seller receives a payment from the buyer every month that he/she passes on to the bank. I don't think it takes any more explanation to see how terribly the buyer can get screwed on this one.

Often in rural areas there are private parties that will act as a bank. Their information is available from the broker/owners of the real estate offices in the area. These parties will often purchase the Note or Contract from the seller at a discount once the property has closed.

Bottom line, if your purchase involves owner financing, consult an attorney. A good way to find a good real estate attorney is to call large real estate offices (Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ReMax, etc.) in a neighboring city and ask who the office's attorney is. Real Estate Offices have attorneys on retainer that specialize in real estate. An attorney from the same small town as the seller's attorney may be part of an Old Boy's Network and reluctant to do battle on behalf of an unknown, out of area buyer.

I wouldn't purchase with owner financing without an my attorney reviewing all the paperwork.

To summarize:

Note and Deed of Trust

Real Estate Contract

A Wrap

Consulting a good real estate attorney if owner financing is involved

I hope this helps! Owner financing can be very tricky...

CA Lawyer, if you read this, feel free to add to, amend or correct.

Katie:

As an attorney who has been involved in some lawsuits on behalf of clients who sued sellers for fraud, failure to disclose, etc., I would NEVER, NOT ONCE, EVER, enter into any purchase or sale of real estate without having an attorney advise me every step of the way. And I mean I would hire my own attorney, at my own expense, to represent me.

The reason for this is that the liability for messing something up is HUGE, and will involve HUMONGOUS legal fees to fix, assuming that only one thing goes wrong. On a parcel of raw land, with unknown things which will happen regarding utilities, zoning, water rights, endangered species, CERCLA, etc., the liability exposure is almost unbelievable.

If someone wanted to buy some raw land, I would first advise them to form an LLC to take title. Then, I would form a management company, and insulate the individuals from the management by a corporate structure, or a limited liability structure.

Then, I would hire an attorney, to advise regarding the purchase of the land. I would want the attorney to have malpractice coverage. I would spell out each and every one of my concerns, in writing, to my attorney, and demand a written, comprehensive response. Only then would I consider making a purchase offer. In the offer, I would want each of the contingencies, that if not met, to allow me to back out of the deal in total, with no loss of earnest money at all. If the seller balked, I would move on. Simple as that.

Buying land in the coming years is going to be a buyer's market, pure and simple. The land seller needs me, and if I do not get what I want, and I mean everything, then I move on to something else.

There is nothing like being involved in a lawsuit over an expensive piece of real estate for five years, only to be paying huge attorneys' fees, and having to worry constantly about it.

If I wanted to demoralize the Afghan's, I would create a US style property system, then sick the lawyers on them. Seriously.

So, to summarize, to buy raw land, first form a LLC, or a corporation. Hire an attorney. Write up all your concerns (water rights, land use, development, mineral rights, etc.), make sure attorney addresses each of these concerns in advance. Then, go shopping. Find a piece of property, have the lawyer vet the land and draw up a suitable purchase offer. Then do the deal. I would not object to owner financing, if the owner wanted to do it that way. I would also do lease with purchase option, or other creative financing deals, but all of those type deals would heavily favor me, and not the seller, and could lead to no deal. So, your mileage may vary. Good luck!

"To save yourself from all this that has happened and will continue to happen requires commitment and courage. You have it or you do not. Admit who you are and act accordingly." Jim Sinclair, December 18, 2012.
Wed, Nov 30, 2011 - 11:14pm
treefrog
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recommended reading

if anybody is thinking about a rural retreat to weather the coming storm (economic? political? social? all of the above?) there is an excellent book. it's probably out of print now, but you can order used copies of out of print books from any good bookstore.

check out GROW IT! by richard langer. it covers a wide range of topics for anybody planning to rusticate. gardening, farming, pond building and maintenance, swine, poultry, soil quality, tillage, woodlot management, canning, sausage making, .... the list goes on.

i have an old, very worn copy.

treefrog land and cattle co.
Thu, Dec 1, 2011 - 12:23am treefrog
donpaulo
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treefrog wrote: if anybody is

treefrog wrote:

if anybody is thinking about a rural retreat to weather the coming storm (economic? political? social? all of the above?) there is an excellent book. it's probably out of print now, but you can order used copies of out of print books from any good bookstore.

check out GROW IT! by richard langer. it covers a wide range of topics for anybody planning to rusticate. gardening, farming, pond building and maintenance, swine, poultry, soil quality, tillage, woodlot management, canning, sausage making, .... the list goes on.

i have an old, very worn copy.

thanks for the reading suggestion, I checked and there is a 1974 edition (original?) and a new 1994 edition

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 - 10:34am
dudestacker
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rural neighbors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=2y_UrdYiTgI

Here's hoping that when you move to the country you will have neighbors like Ronny.

"In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king." Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus
Thu, Dec 1, 2011 - 4:30pm
bern
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Loving this thread.  Question

Loving this thread. Question - how does a lay person who has never bought property before go about researching zoning issues, water quality / well drilling issues, building encumbrances, etc. when evaluating a piece of land? What if I wanted to buy some land and build an off-grid (solar powered) cabin and pump my own water from my own well?

PM Bug
Thu, Dec 1, 2011 - 8:39pm
Katie Rose
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bern

In answer to your question, you begin your journey with a visit to the county offices where the land is located. You will find the Planning Dept, Assessor, Building Dept and just about all the local folks you will be dealing with in the future there. Most are not busy right now and will be happy to answer any questions. They can give you information about the wells in the area, as well as the regulations on drilling a new well.

If you find them not very helpful, you may want to consider another county. Really. My previous county was insane with all the environmental regulations, and the folks in Planning loved their power. They were HELL to work with.

Just know that no question is a dumb question, so know someone in Turdville has an answer for you.

My greatest mistake was buying too much land (20 acres) and shorting my family on funds for prepping.

Katie Rose

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 - 8:44pm Katie Rose
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addenda

this was posted to the main board and has some important new info so I thought I'd archive it here

Submitted by Katie Rose on December 1, 2011 - 8:23pm.

When you purchase a piece of property or even a home, you can ask your agent to write in a 10 day Feasibility Study, and insist on having one. What that does is essentially tie up the property for ten days while you do your DD. During that time a trip to the Assessor would be in order; as well as the Planning Department to see about zoning and other issues (wetlands, etc); and a trip to the well people to find out what is happening in the area concerning water. Knocking on neighbor's doors is also a good idea as they are often very vocal in sharing information about the property you will not find anywhere else.

We purchased our property in 2007 when the market was sizzling hot, three offers on the property the first day it hit the market, and I had no wiggle room at all. No Feasibility Study was allowed. All through escrow agents were calling the seller directly stating that if our sale was "in trouble" they had clients who would pay him even more than we did. It is unethical to do what they did, but I've found that ethics are not a high point with our local Board of Realtors.

Saying that, the Assessor gouged us.

So yes, check out everything you can in advance. The market is slow and sellers accommodating.

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 - 3:33am
Chris P. Bacon
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More Food for Thought

This was posted in the wee hours on the Main Thread by DaddyO, and I thought it might be of use here in this topic specific thread.

The article linked HERE expands greatly on my 2¢ post on the previous page and should be given sober consideration.

Thanks for the great thread Katie!

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 - 12:12am
Katie Rose
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Clean Titles

It is late and I really wanted to add something about title insurance and clean titles.

I had something happen during the purchase of our little farm that I have never experienced before. I had our seller do a "five minute filing."

What that is is fraud. It is when a party goes to the courthouse and after all the papers have been submitted by the closing agent, and the property is ready to record, they slip in a change to the title. In our case his attorney, who was the closing agent, wrote up a 15 foot easement that ran along the 1200 north feet of our property in the seller's favor. It was not mentioned in the purchase and Sales Agreement and never agreed upon. He effectively stole the property from us. It was recorded along with the other closing papers.

It wasn't until the deed was delivered that we found the easement.

It was very unpleasant to get him to remove it.

So from now on when I purchase more property, I will be waiting at the County Courthouse when the property is going to be recorded. I suggest you do, too.

Much, much easier than dealing with a crook after the fact.

As an aside, the seller tried again to make the easement a fact when he instructed the surveyor to include the 15 feet of our property in the road he was surveying. We were ready for him this time, and had the paperwork to show the survey team that there was no easement.

So, you just may come across a slime bag of a seller. Be prepared.

And KARMA really did hit him. He had a little accident with a skill saw and sawed off the tips of his fingers on one hand.

Amazing!

Katie Rose

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 - 10:18am
atlee
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Katie

Great forum and great info. Congrats and thank you for the time put into this. Happy New year!

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 - 1:05pm
Be Prepared
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Still doing a search...

It's just crazy how expensive land has become in my neck of the woods. I know that a lot of people are saying that you can do everything you need with five (5) acres, but I have many reservations with that approach under many fronts.

(1) Neighbors, which may not be friendly, are too close and can make your life a living hell with regards to your Ag activities.

(2) Desire to have a decent wooded section of the land to use to heat my home and would like to have a stocked pond, if possible.

(3) Concerns over the ability to defend it..... I know that concern will be with any property if you don't have a community of neighbors that band together. More Neighbors, though, the probability for dissention increases.

I definitely don't want to over buy, but I also don't want to be cut short on having a reasonable opportunity to be self-sustaining regardless of what happens in the future.

The challenge is to find a place that is close enough to either move to and commute to work or a find a place that I can reasonably get to on the weekends so that I can work on making it habitable. I still have many things I am pondering. I wish I could spend a couple weeks with you, Katie Rose, helping you milk the goats and get direct access to all your wonderful, no nonsense perspective and insight. :-}

Plan for Tomorrow, but Work your Plan Today

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 - 4:38pm
foxenburg
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smallholding

Hi, my wife and I have been smallholders for quite a few years. We are amateurish. In 2008 we bought just under 6 acres in Extremadura, Spain. We drilled 300 feet. Found water at 100 but was advised to keep going. The water settled at about 50 feet. We have 6 x 75W photovoltaic panels which run a submersible pump and we get around 15 gallon a minute which is more than we need. If we double the number of panels we can double the amount of water pumped. Our rainfall is about 48 inches a year. We are in the shadow of the Gredos Mountains, which are granite, and so our soil is decomposed grantite, which is poor quality, but of course one can rectify it with calcium, micronutrients, etc. We grow almonds, cherries, figs, citrus, apples, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, nectarines, olives. With so-so success, but nothing to get excited about. We only spend half our time there and even six acres is a full time job if you want to develop it. Our nearest village is Villanueva de la Vera. No-one speaks English and our Spanish is very basic. I quite like it that way. I am English (62), my wife Rhodesian (55).

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 - 6:42pm
Be Prepared
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@foxenburg - Some Questions

First of all, thanks for sharing.... I never take it for granted that people will share their experiences. I have some questions, though, that I hope you won't mind answering.

(1) Was the house already there when you bought the property? It sounds from the well story that you most likely built it yourself?

(2) Since you had a lot of work to do and very little Spanish, did you find it difficult to secure the supplies (seeds, cement, pipe) and services (well driller) to your property? Did you get treated fairly at the same price as a native of the area?

(3) While you are away from the property, do you have problems with theft? Do you know your neighbors and how do they feel about foreigners owning next to them?

(4) Do you plan to eventually live in the area full time? Are you concerned or have any indication that Spain will move to heavy taxation of the property? Have you noticed any changes in 2011 in town or major supply hubs that would cause you concern for 2012?

I will stop there because I could easily get on a roll. Anything you feel comfortable sharing will be glady read. :-}

Plan for Tomorrow, but Work your Plan Today

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