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      04-30-2021, 12:26 PM   #89
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Personally, I would get it on your "to done" list ASAP.

I just reached out to a local SC insurance agent by email, asking for a recommendation for what type of insurance policy they can offer when a "vacant land" policy might not be applicable. I also asked what kind of coverage is used during the construction phase, be it self-funded or with a bank's construction loan.

I'm not expecting an answer before next Wednesday. Anyone who has visited the south knows that they live a much slower lifestyle down there than we're used to here in the northeast, so I have to be patient.....
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      04-30-2021, 02:33 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
Personally, I would get it on your "to done" list ASAP.

I just reached out to a local SC insurance agent by email, asking for a recommendation for what type of insurance policy they can offer when a "vacant land" policy might not be applicable. I also asked what kind of coverage is used during the construction phase, be it self-funded or with a bank's construction loan.

I'm not expecting an answer before next Wednesday. Anyone who has visited the south knows that they live a much slower lifestyle down there than we're used to here in the northeast, so I have to be patient.....
Wonder if my umbrella policy would cover me?

Anyway, no time this weekend to ad the policy. Too busy building a structure on the property. LOL. Got some trees to cut down so I'm building a firewood seasoning shelter.
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      05-05-2021, 03:00 PM   #91
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We are well into the "due diligence" part of the pre-closing stuff on our 5-acre lot. In case anyone else is considering buying land, here is a cut/paste from the purchase contract boilerplate that our real estate agent uses:

Quote:
Conduct at Buyer's sole expense whatever due diligence, inspections, examinations, surveys and testing, if any, Buyer deems appropriate to evaluate the suitability of Property for Buyers intended use, including, but not limited to, zoning, governmental regulations, environmental concerns, availability of utilities and whether the soil on Property will support a septic system of a size and type of desired Buyer (hereinafter collectively referred to as "Buyer's Due Diligence").
In our case, the seller provided a recent survey and approved state septic permit for an over-sized system. The zoning is good, there are no building moratoriums, and there is even a partial driveway cut in. There's municipal water and gigabit fiber at the curb, and the lot has never been denied a building permit. (All verified before we made our offer.) The paperwork for a grading/clearing permit is simple, as long as the disturbed area is less than one acre. All (but the water/fiber being in the ground) are benefits of buying in a rural, unincorporated part of the county.

The last piece of the utility puzzle that I didn't know was who the electric company is. Believe it or not, there are four different power companies operating in that zip code! Last night, I went through all four companies' online outage maps after some severe thunderstorms apparently rolled through and knocked out power. The power was out on the entire street on one company's outage site, so I figured that they were the one. Called and spoke with one of their line engineers this morning, and he actually had to pull their circuit maps to check because the different companies criss-cross in that area. Long story short, they can provide a 200A service and are fine with an underground handoff at the curb if we are trenching for other utilities.

With any kind of luck, we'll be closing in four weeks or so.....
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      05-05-2021, 09:50 PM   #92
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I build homes and it seems you're off to an expensive start. Hiring an arborist? Seriously? Does the city require that?
Turboawd, you said you build homes. I just wanted to reach out and see if you'd be interested in utilizing my 3D design services. My number is (559) 304-5258 and email is amparandesign@gmail.com

You can also find me @amparan_decor on Instagram.

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      05-05-2021, 10:16 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
We are well into the "due diligence" part of the pre-closing stuff on our 5-acre lot. In case anyone else is considering buying land, here is a cut/paste from the purchase contract boilerplate that our real estate agent uses:



In our case, the seller provided a recent survey and approved state septic permit for an over-sized system. The zoning is good, there are no building moratoriums, and there is even a partial driveway cut in. There's municipal water and gigabit fiber at the curb, and the lot has never been denied a building permit. (All verified before we made our offer.) The paperwork for a grading/clearing permit is simple, as long as the disturbed area is less than one acre. All (but the water/fiber being in the ground) are benefits of buying in a rural, unincorporated part of the county.

The last piece of the utility puzzle that I didn't know was who the electric company is. Believe it or not, there are four different power companies operating in that zip code! Last night, I went through all four companies' online outage maps after some severe thunderstorms apparently rolled through and knocked out power. The power was out on the entire street on one company's outage site, so I figured that they were the one. Called and spoke with one of their line engineers this morning, and he actually had to pull their circuit maps to check because the different companies criss-cross in that area. Long story short, they can provide a 200A service and are fine with an underground handoff at the curb if we are trenching for other utilities.

With any kind of luck, we'll be closing in four weeks or so.....
Congrats! 4 week feasibility period? You guys are aggressive. We went 45 and used every last day of it.
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      05-06-2021, 06:41 AM   #94
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Congrats! 4 week feasibility period? You guys are aggressive. We went 45 and used every last day of it.
I did my homework *before* making the offer.....
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      05-06-2021, 08:41 AM   #95
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I did my homework *before* making the offer.....
Good on ya. I guess you have that luxury in a lot of markets. I forget that Seattle is a microcosm of stupid people making stupid decisions with their stupid amounts of money. Vacant buildable land goes fast around here. We lost our property to a developer who swooped in and made an offer without even seeing the property! We went to look at it for the first time on a Saturday, thought about it on Sunday, and started working on the offer on Monday. Before we could send the offer on Monday the developer made an offer and had it accepted. Our agent was smart enough to advise us to put in a back-up offer and give her the authority to move the deal forward on a moments notice without needing our input. When the developer dropped out a week later, our offer was immediately put into effect. We did a but of due diligence during that week but so much of what we needed to do required input from the city and quotes from builders that it took the full 45 days. The city requires all regulatory inquiries in writing, a $300 fee, then 4 to 5 weeks to respond.

Try getting a contractor, arborist, architect, and excavation company out to a property in the middle of a COVID lockdown to put a plan together for the city to review in "4 to 5 weeks" all in 45 days.
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      05-11-2021, 03:48 AM   #96
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Been watching the US Buying and Selling with Drew and Jonathan who have been giving us great ideas of how to prepare our house for eventual sale.
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      06-14-2021, 06:15 PM   #97
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Figured I'd update my thread here as it's been a few weeks. Some general lessons learned in the last month:

First off when "those" people say it will cost a lot more than you think and take a lot longer than you think to build a house, those people are wrong. Wrong in that even they underestimate on all levels! So when someone tells you it will cost waaaay more than you think, take whatever they say and I dunno, double that. It's an insane hemorrhaging of cash.

We just dropped $6k on a full site survey with topographical contours and the location of every tree, utility, fence, easement, etc. mapped. We learned that the access and utility easement that allows us to access our property was sloppily drawn up and would have us needing to route the driveway onto the property in a spot where the property drops off a steep grade. The easement also runs through four 120' tall fir trees that we want to keep, if for no other reason than they are $4k to $5k a piece to take down. So we are now working with the survey company, our architect, a property lawyer, and the neighbors to re-draw the easement, shifting the last 50 feet of it 20 feet to the West. All in it'll be about $2k to $3k in "work" to re-draw the easement map, put a legal description on it, and get everyone to sign it and the city to record it.

We also learned that every neighborhood has that one busy-body that calls the city every time you pick up a hammer. The city our lot is in is notorious for being very protective of trees. The permitting process to take a tree out is extensive. Dead trees, however, are fair game with no permit needed. Same goes for any tree under 6" diameter DBH; it can come out without a permit. For the past month we have been cleaning up the property. Took out some struggling, scraggly, little trees that didnt need a permit for removal. Had 5 dead trees that i documented, photographed, and sent to the city arborist for the thumbs up to remove. I got her approval so off we went. A buddy of mine is a retired arborist and he's got a old bucket truck with a 40' boom. Him and his kid came up to the property a couple weeks back and tackled the big trees that were beyond my comfort level to remove. Sure enough, about 1/2 way through the day the city arborist pulls up and start yelling at us to stop work. She's received a call from a "concerned neighbor" who heard chainsaws and probably saw the bucket truck. Despite our e-mail exchange where she said no permit was needed she was there to verify in person that each tree really was dead. She was actually pretty cool and since all my shit was in order it was no big deal. But sheesh, at least now we knwo we have a nosy neighbor who will likely be calling the city permit department at every step of this process!
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      06-15-2021, 08:55 PM   #98
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Makes me me glad we sold the lot and bought an existing home. We close July 14th….
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      06-29-2021, 02:27 PM   #99
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We closed on our 5-acre wooded SC lot yesterday. Since we paid cash, the entire closing took 10 minutes and was entirely painless...wallet pain aside.

The current plan is to not start building for a few years, but I would like to cut a temporary driveway to the likely house location this year just to make moving around easy when the time comes.....
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      06-29-2021, 02:49 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
We closed on our 5-acre wooded SC lot yesterday. Since we paid cash, the entire closing took 10 minutes and was entirely painless...wallet pain aside.

The current plan is to not start building for a few years, but I would like to cut a temporary driveway to the likely house location this year just to make moving around easy when the time comes.....
Congrats!!!!
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      06-29-2021, 08:00 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
The current plan is to not start building for a few years, but I would like to cut a temporary driveway to the likely house location this year just to make moving around easy when the time comes.....
Check with your local or state road department. Around here, if you supply the culvert pipe, they will provide the labor to create your driveway entrance to their codes. Make a reasonable argument for a longer pipe and larger opening to prevent trucks from crushing your pipe during your home construction. One of the smart things I did just because it seemed logical. Young couple is starting a home on a lot they bought from our next-door neighbor and their culvert pipe and driveway opening is so small that it's already crushed and they haven't even finished the foundation!

We owned our lot for about 32-years before building, but it was right across the street from where we lived (and still own) so we used it (6-acres) as our private park all that time. Now we've been in the new house for over two-years and I can't imagine why we waited so long.

Well, other than not having the money, or time, or money to build!
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      06-29-2021, 08:49 PM   #102
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Well, other than not having the money, or time, or money to build!
We are in a similar situation finance-wise, not having the resources available to complete a livable house right now. This is why I'm aiming for a temporary driveway (600-800 feet long through the woods) this year, a permitted/inspected septic system next year, and then see what we can do to get the house started in the third year when our existing house's mortgage should be paid off and we can redirect that money to finishing our retirement garage.

The previous owner of the land used it as a tree farm, and already put a big ol' culvert pipe in place for the driveway since it was needed to get all of the trucks and heavy equipment in/out for harvesting. They re-planted on the temporary roads they cut for harvesting, so I have a 50-foot culvert/driveway stub off of the road as my starting point.....
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      06-29-2021, 09:09 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
We are in a similar situation finance-wise, not having the resources available to complete a livable house right now. This is why I'm aiming for a temporary driveway (600-800 feet long through the woods) this year, a permitted/inspected septic system next year, and then see what we can do to get the house started in the third year
Sounds like you're all set. Our driveway is just about 1/4-mile long and I cleared most of it with a brush axe over 30-years ago leading to what was a dairy farm, so I could try to keep it mowed before the cedars took over after the cows moved.

We needed a functioning, approved, and tested well before we could apply for a building permit. The septic was just about the last thing that went in but the hydrologist had already submitted the septic plan for approval which around here requires a second backup field available for future use.
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      06-29-2021, 09:40 PM   #104
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We needed a functioning, approved, and tested well before we could apply for a building permit. The septic was just about the last thing that went in but the hydrologist had already submitted the septic plan for approval which around here requires a second backup field available for future use.
In SC (from what I have been able to piece together), the state handles all septic permits and inspections. You can't even apply for a building permit from the county without an approved state septic permit. I noticed that some lots had an approved/completed septic system installed when we were shopping for land, so I am assuming that it is fairly common to build the septic before the house in that area.

One of the major deciding factors in selecting the area where we purchased was that it actually has municipal water and gigabit fiber to the home. Both were built using rural utility incentives, and are things that I cannot even get at our current upstate NY house. The water company has a flat fee of $1500 for an install, which includes installing the water line to a house much farther off the road than ours will be.....
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      06-29-2021, 10:22 PM   #105
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We also learned that every neighborhood has that one busy-body that calls the city every time you pick up a hammer. The city our lot is in is notorious for being very protective of trees.
sounds a lot like where I live south in part of Snohomish county.
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      07-06-2021, 12:24 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
In SC (from what I have been able to piece together), the state handles all septic permits and inspections. You can't even apply for a building permit from the county without an approved state septic permit. I noticed that some lots had an approved/completed septic system installed when we were shopping for land, so I am assuming that it is fairly common to build the septic before the house in that area.

One of the major deciding factors in selecting the area where we purchased was that it actually has municipal water and gigabit fiber to the home. Both were built using rural utility incentives, and are things that I cannot even get at our current upstate NY house. The water company has a flat fee of $1500 for an install, which includes installing the water line to a house much farther off the road than ours will be.....
Not to take from OP DETRoadster , but I enjoy the knowledge and conversation of land acquisition for the purpose of building. Interesting to see you going through a potentially similar situation to ours in the not so distant future. One of our top considerations for the next move is vacant land to build a barndomindium in upstate South Carolina or western North Carolina. What roadblocks do you foresee in building a non-traditional structure? Zoning, financing, etc. In my limited understanding (I've never built before), I imagine purchasing the land outright and rolling that into the appraisal as collateral in the construction loan process.

We're early in our years, but the idea of something more rural and suited to our lifestyle is nothing new - it's been desired for many years. If it sticks in the brain, it must be right...right?
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      07-06-2021, 02:30 PM   #107
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One of our top considerations for the next move is vacant land to build a barndomindium in upstate South Carolina or western North Carolina. What roadblocks do you foresee in building a non-traditional structure? Zoning, financing, etc. In my limited understanding (I've never built before), I imagine purchasing the land outright and rolling that into the appraisal as collateral in the construction loan process.
I bought the dead-tree edition of this book, which may answer your initial questions...and leave you with even more:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08NVHXLZM/

It is a summary of various Facebook barndominium forum posts (I don't do Facebook!), with links to additional information on the web for financing and stuff. Good overview, explaining how construction loans work, etc. They make an argument for including the land purchase into the construction loan, to make the bank feel better about writing the loan. Not full of details, but rather an intro to the process.

Since we are using a HELOC on our nearly-paid-off current house to self-fund the retirement project, I'm not overly concerned with construction loans and making banks happy.

Living in a town in upstate NY that identifies itself as agricultural/rural, I just spent the last year on a town committee writing a new 10-year comprehensive plan. The first thing that I checked out in SC was their county comprehensive plans, to see what they identified as their problems in their SWOT analysis and if a barndominium would be excluded off the bat with no discussion. The county plan where we just bought (SC midlands) was just updated, and their biggest gripe is dilapidated mobile homes. Other problems are dilapidated stick-built houses in the town centers, and lack of reasonably-priced homes for lower income families. Maybe I can go into business selling barndominiums there?

On the topic, a mobile home was made before the mid-1970's, when HUD came out with construction/materials regulations. Manufactured homes are the same type of thing, but made after the HUD regulations were adopted. A modular home is built off-site in pieces, delivered by truck, with final assembly at the home site. These distinctions are important, because a steel barndominium should be considered more like it is between modular and stick-built...and not a manufactured home. When you start reading zoning codes, these are each specific building types and not interchangeable terms.

Since we are not in a hurry to build, I was thinking about putting up a small temporary cabin-type kit so we could have a place to stay for a getaway weekend and during the construction process. Hence, why I went digging into the zoning for various temporary structures in the previous paragraph.

The strange thing for me coming from the northeast is that a lot of counties down there seem to have just chosen the international IBC or ICC building codes rather than create their own. As far as I can tell, all you need to do is buy a steel kit that's certified to those standards and you're apparently good to go. Guess I'll be finding out in a few years when we reach that step!

Quote:
We're early in our years, but the idea of something more rural and suited to our lifestyle is nothing new - it's been desired for many years. If it sticks in the brain, it must be right...right?
My DW told me that she would divorce me if I didn't build her a 10-car garage within 10 years of our wedding day. We are already past the deadline, but she came up with the barndominium idea and insists on a 5-ton lift and slop sink in our new living room. Since we already live in a small house surrounded by 7,000+ acres of state forest, the whole thing isn't a huge jump for us.

I have no fears of serving as my own general contractor (GC) for the project, but will have to face reality and hire someone down there to act as a GC. The distance is way too far to properly oversee a construction project, and my Rolodex is empty for locating reliable contractors down south.....
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      07-07-2021, 10:39 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
I bought the dead-tree edition of this book, which may answer your initial questions...and leave you with even more:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08NVHXLZM/

It is a summary of various Facebook barndominium forum posts (I don't do Facebook!), with links to additional information on the web for financing and stuff. Good overview, explaining how construction loans work, etc. They make an argument for including the land purchase into the construction loan, to make the bank feel better about writing the loan. Not full of details, but rather an intro to the process.

Since we are using a HELOC on our nearly-paid-off current house to self-fund the retirement project, I'm not overly concerned with construction loans and making banks happy.

Living in a town in upstate NY that identifies itself as agricultural/rural, I just spent the last year on a town committee writing a new 10-year comprehensive plan. The first thing that I checked out in SC was their county comprehensive plans, to see what they identified as their problems in their SWOT analysis and if a barndominium would be excluded off the bat with no discussion. The county plan where we just bought (SC midlands) was just updated, and their biggest gripe is dilapidated mobile homes. Other problems are dilapidated stick-built houses in the town centers, and lack of reasonably-priced homes for lower income families. Maybe I can go into business selling barndominiums there?

On the topic, a mobile home was made before the mid-1970's, when HUD came out with construction/materials regulations. Manufactured homes are the same type of thing, but made after the HUD regulations were adopted. A modular home is built off-site in pieces, delivered by truck, with final assembly at the home site. These distinctions are important, because a steel barndominium should be considered more like it is between modular and stick-built...and not a manufactured home. When you start reading zoning codes, these are each specific building types and not interchangeable terms.

Since we are not in a hurry to build, I was thinking about putting up a small temporary cabin-type kit so we could have a place to stay for a getaway weekend and during the construction process. Hence, why I went digging into the zoning for various temporary structures in the previous paragraph.

The strange thing for me coming from the northeast is that a lot of counties down there seem to have just chosen the international IBC or ICC building codes rather than create their own. As far as I can tell, all you need to do is buy a steel kit that's certified to those standards and you're apparently good to go. Guess I'll be finding out in a few years when we reach that step!



My DW told me that she would divorce me if I didn't build her a 10-car garage within 10 years of our wedding day. We are already past the deadline, but she came up with the barndominium idea and insists on a 5-ton lift and slop sink in our new living room. Since we already live in a small house surrounded by 7,000+ acres of state forest, the whole thing isn't a huge jump for us.

I have no fears of serving as my own general contractor (GC) for the project, but will have to face reality and hire someone down there to act as a GC. The distance is way too far to properly oversee a construction project, and my Rolodex is empty for locating reliable contractors down south.....
Thanks for the words of advice! I'll look into the book for sure.

Saw your post in another thread. Five acres on a lake ain't bad. Congrats!
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      07-08-2021, 10:42 AM   #109
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This thread is seriously light on pictures.
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      07-08-2021, 11:59 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by The J-Man View Post
This thread is seriously light on pictures.
Better?????

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