Sold my land through blogging!

July 7, 2009

We bought land when we lived in VA, then moved to Michigan and needed to sell our land.  Well, as you know, if you read my blog, my husband refused to employ an agent to assist us in selling our land long distance.  Not only refused, absolutely refused.  One night, desperation found me, ‘sitting’ in our bathroom phoning an agent I had spoken with, once, when we lived in VA but had to cut off our conversation quickly as I heard my husband coming up the stairs!  It was a humiliating experience; one flush and I was outta there!

Left to my own devices, I blogged endlessly until finally, the land was sold.  I have been waiting to update my blog, actually I was going to delet it, but remembered all the work I put into it’s creation and upkeep so I could only add the word SOLD as it’s new heading.   Blogging let me sell land in VA while living in MI to a man from NY!  Ain’t it great?  How could anyone not love blogging?


Let’s Get You That Loan!

November 28, 2008

Let’s combine the estimated cost to build with the Creative Financing options I have presented, put it through an amortization calculator and see how much it would cost you per month to purchase the land, build your home, then get a permanent loan on your newly built home.

I have researched construction loans, and you either do a construction to permanent loan and they charge you interest only on just the amount of the loan outstanding at any given time, then convert your construction loan to a 30 year fixed, or whatever option you chose for your permanent financing. Or you can get just a construction loan for interest only and the full amount is due after completion, but you must shop for a permanent loan before the construction loan is due, and the project is near completion with an approved appraisal.

One advantage you have purchasing this land and building your own home is, you can sell you home first then either put up a shed structure, a tent, or live in a pop up travel trailer for the three months or so it will require to build. You could even live in a yurt from Blue Ridge Yurts and convert it latter to an office, or in-law quarters. There are many options.

According to my research it’s best to at least contact your financing company before you buy your land, purchase your plans, and contact any contractors. I will post a few links to construction loan articles, but according to them, the financing company will work with your contractor from the start to make sure everyone is on the same page before construction is begun.

Most construction loans consist of three draws, the first of which is paid upon approval of all your plans, specifications, builder contracts and your fixed costs, which is the estimated costs with a contract by the sub-contractors or general contractor to do the work for that amount. If you act as your own general contractor you would get the estimates yourself, get contracts for the work from each sub, then make sure you get all the lien waivers signed and notarized as the job progresses, with your final lien waivers upon completion of their portion of the work, being sure to hold back 10% as a retainage for at least 30-60 days in case they need to be called back.

If your land is not already paid for, free and clear, the first drew will pay for the balance of the loan on the land, as you do not want a lien on the land after you have improved it 200%. (Nor do they!) That is the time I will discount the principal on the loan, within the first five years. Anywhere from $4,000 in the first year to $6,000 at the end of five years. After five years, we can talk again.

Okay, you bought the land, put $20,000 down, and are paying $529.83 a month, and have had it for five months while setting up your camp, and either contracting with a general contractor, or gathering estimates from all the sub-contractors required to build your home, and have signed contracts in your hand, and they come to roughly the estimate of $190,000 which I posted. You have been approved for a $250,000 construction loan. Your first draw would probably be close to $175,000 to pay for the land, permits, insurance, plans and specs, and about $65,000 or so for excavation, foundation, framing, roofing, wiring, and rough in plumbing.

This construction will probably account for two of the three to four months it would take to construct your home, so let’s figure 8% on $175,000 your first draw, which would be $1,167 per month for the first two months. (Don’t forget you no longer have to pay the $529.83.)

With your second draw being about $50,000 to pay for everything except the final finishes, your payment would go to $1,500 per month, for about one month then the final draw and payment would be $1,667 per month till you get your permanent financing.

In case you have not noticed the $250,000 loan would leave you short by about $3,829, which I would be willing to sign a personal loan with an interest rate equal to your permanent loan (cause I would rather you wrap this into your permanent financing), for five years, with payment beginning after you get permanent financing.

Now on to your permanent financing. What will your new home appraise for now? There is a 1,100 SF home on 23 acres selling for $280,000, so I expect your home, 1,500 SF on 25 acres would increase the value by at least 10% since your home is 40% larger and your acreage 10% bigger for a whopping $308,000. So if you take out a permanent loan for $270,000 to recoup your $20,000 down payment, at 30 years and 6.5% your monthly payment will be $1,706.58. Or just finance the construction loan and with the same terms the monthly payment will be $1,580.17. Of course if you can get better terms the cost savings would be substantial.

I am not a professional and all my numbers are estimates, but they are best guesses based on everything I have studied so far. Please consult a financial or real estate expert before venturing into any investment so large as this.

Here are some links of interest I encountered on my Google quest:

Amortization Schedule: Download this then save it separately, as it is read only unless saved with a different name.

Amortization Schedule: Use this right on line for a quick determination. There is a plethora of information regarding loans of all sorts here.

How Construction Loans Work: Informative but links to other information.

Construction Loans FAQ: This is information specific to this company but applies to most construction loans.

Construction Loans, how they work: This is an entire Google page on Construction Loans.

If you did not catch the link I gave on the estimated cost to construct a home in Charlotte County VA this one is great! P.S. The zip code for this land is 23962 it shows Farmington, but that is just a nearby town. In about 5 minutes you can develop a home construction or replacement cost that considers all the important variables: materials used, design features, quality, size, shape, heating, cooling and geographic area. Your printed estimate shows detailed labor and material costs for each of 34 construction cost categories. Plus, it’s FREE!

And if you want to finance land only for up to 20 years go here:

Dumont Land Finance Corporation: 10% down, but they only work in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.

I hope this liturgy has been helpful to you in making your decision.

Estimate to Build a 1,500 SF Home in Charlotte County, VA

November 27, 2008

I found this website while doing my daily Google and you will find it fascinating too, even if you don’t care about purchasing my land and building your dream home: Which is where I calculated the cost to build a normal 1,500 square foot home on this property.

I know you can pay more and you can even cut down on the price I calculated, either way, this calculator is great fun.

Home Construction Costs – 1,500 Square Foot Home, with 500 Square Foot Porch with finished ceiling and shed roof. Forced air central heating, Freestanding wood-burning heat-circulating prefab metal fireplace with interior flue, base and cap. No attic, no basement, no garage.

  • Foundation: Reinforced Concrete

  • Exterior Walls: Wood or Steel, some offsets

  • Exterior Finish: Stucco or Wood Siding, some trim or veneer

  • Windows and Doors: Average Doors and Windows

  • Roofing, Soffit, Fascia: Wood Trusses, Tile or good shingles, closed soffit

  • Interior Finish: 1/2″ gypsum wallboard with textured finish, several irregular walls and wall openings, some decorative details. 8′ or 9′ ceiling throughout, walk-in closet in master bedroom, separate dining area, some decorative wood trim

  • Flooring: Simulated marble tile entry, good carpet, hardwood or vinyl elsewhere.

  • Bathrooms: Less bathrooms than bedrooms. Good plastic tub and shower in at least one bathroom, one small window in each bath.

  • Kitchen: Top grade stock cabinets, tile or acrylic counter top, many good grade appliances, task lighting

  • Plumbing: Three standard fixtures per bathroom

This is an estimate for a single-family residence built under competitive conditions in Zip area 239 Farmville, Virginia in November, 2008. This estimate includes a foundation as required for normal soil conditions, excavation for foundation and piers on a prepared building pad, floor, wall, interior and exterior finishes, roof cover, interior partitions, doors, windows, trim, electric wiring and fixtures, rough and finish plumbing, built-in appliances, supervision, design fees, permits, utility hook-ups, the contractors’ contingency, overhead and profit. Highly decorative, starkly original or exceptionally well-appointed residences will cost more. (had to post as a picture as I don’t know how to do tables)


Estimated cost to build a home in Charlotte County VA

Estimated cost to build a home in Charlotte County VA






Creative Financing

November 27, 2008

Be Creative! That is what all the people involved in selling real estate are crying. Well I have put together a creative way for you to own for investment, or own and build now, or own and hold to build in the future, whichever you like.

First Option: With a down payment of $20,000 I will take back $67,000 at 5% for 15 years. Your monthly payment would be $529.83 per month.

Second Option: If you take out a loan to pay cash for the property and pay all the appraisal fees and title searches (which will be required to finance the land), the price will be reduced to $82,000. Dumont Land Finance Corporation advertises:

Dumont Land will consider financing rural, unimproved, non-speculative land to be used for future vacation or retirement home, hunting or recreational usage. There is a 5-acre minimum and a $5,000 per acre cap.

  1. 10% Minimum Down Payment

  2. Points Ranging from 1%-3%

  3. Terms Available Up to 20 Years as Determined by Amount Financed

  4. Interest Rates Ranging From 9.5%-13.0% (Fixed and Variable)

  5. Interest Rate & Points to be Determined by Credit History, Down Payment, Stability, and Deal Structure

Using Dumont, with 10% down your principal would be $73,800, so at 10% for 20 years your monthly payment would be $712.19, not including the points. Here is a link to their web:

There are other hard money lenders who specialize in land loans. I found this one to be very specific and does business in Virginia. You can Google ‘hard money lenders’ and see what you come up with.

Third Option: You put $20,000 down, and all the terms in the First Option are the same. Your monthly payment would still be $529.83 per month. You get a construction loan within the first year of this loan which pays the land off with the first draw. I will reduce your principal to $63,000, or if you get a loan at a latter date I will reduce the principal by $100 per month for the first five years. After that full payoff would accrue.


About Fishing…

November 26, 2008
I am not the expert when it comes to fishing. In fact on MY perfect day spent fishing I never caught one fish. I just lolled in a boat with my pole in the water, hoping not to be disturbed by a tug on my line, and I was rewarded…no fish! Four hours doing something while doing nothing is perfect time spent when the rest of your life is dizzyingly hectic.

My husband, on the other hand loves catching fish. He is not an expert like the ones I have linked to on my fishing page. He has never been in a tournament nor caught a trophy fish, but he loves it for the fish he catches, and he eats them with a savor that must touch on the individualist in all of us. FREE FOOD!

Of course even caught fish are not exactly free. There are the fishing poles, the reels, all the tackle, and the box(es in some cases) to store it in.

My husband is not a surf fisher or a pier fisher or a boat fisher. He loves to climb across a bevy of boulders to get to his fishing perch, and I must say he always brought home some kind of fish. One day he caught a small sand shark, lucky for me he tossed it right back, but that day he brought home some unnameable fish which he cleaned and cooked. I will tell you it was the fishiest fish there ever was, and I have eaten blue fish, blackened blue fish, and it was delicious. But this fish was, to me, inedible. He loved it. I do not think there’s anything swimming in the oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, or any body of water that he would not eat and think delectable.

My history is different from his. My mother hated fish, so on Fridays we ate ‘fish’sticks. Back then they weren’t that bad. More fish than bread, unlike today’s ‘fish’sticks where the old lady could just as easily say “where’s the fish”. So when we got together and he wanted to eat fish, like every day, I objected, but eventually gave in and at least picked at the fish until it appeared as if I had eaten a goodly portion.

So you see, when I write of fishing the Staunton River I am not speaking from experience, I have to depend on the experts who have spent so much of their time and energy doing what my husband would love to do from any rock formation…fish endlessly.



Charlotte County and its Neighbors

November 25, 2008

The population density of Charlotte County, VA is 26 people per square mile. The population density for Richmond is 3,293 people, and DC, poor, poor DC. comes in at 9,581 person per square mile.

Charlotte County is one of the 10 least populated counties in the state, so privacy is yours for the taking. The cities of note in Charlotte County, oops there are none. There are however, these confusing towns: Abilene, Aspen, Eureka, Formosa, Harrisburg, Ontario, and Phenix (no, they spell it that way). I suppose if a foreign traveler got lost and confused he could have a great time in one of these here towns. One very provocative town name is Saxe. If you knew the southern accents here you would know what I mean!

Directly across the river, when you cross the bridge (or swim over), to the west is Halifax County (45.6 psm), southeast is Mecklenburg (51.9 psm), due east is Lunenburg (30.5 psm), northeast of you is Prince Edward County (55.9 psm), northwest Appomatox (41.1 psm) and to your west is Campbell County (101.2 psm).

Halifax boasts Virginia International Raceway with NASCAR races in South Boston. I believe the population swells to about 100 per square mile at that time? I don’t know, I am not a NASCAR fan (don’t tell my husband, though). Between all the counties, I believe that is the only ‘international’ venue, so there will not likely be an influx of tourists in any season.

As you can see it’s a very well spread out community all around you, but it is growing, that’s why people are selling off large lots that cannot be subdivided and developed, because they’ve seen the sprawl that other areas have endured, and these are country folk.

This is great hunting and fishing country, great hiking, biking and boating. The largest lake in the state is located just 20 miles away with tournament fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and all the stuff lakes have and do. Except for water skiing every one of the activities can be done alone, with a partner, or family and friends.

You can maintain you own stable, as horseback riding is one of the many popular outdoor pleasures here. This is agricultural country and you can maintain farm animals as well. You could grow your own tobacco, if you smoke, then get the government to pay you not to! Or a vineyard could be begun, there are vineyards in Brookneal and the vicinity that are renowned. There ya go! Drink some wine at the tastings than go on to Saxe!

Boating’s Least Best Foot

November 24, 2008

I have been researching and looking.  I have been googling and reading.  I have been frowning and smiling.  I have just about reached my wits end.  I have about 3 inches of wit left, I think?

Anyway, I have discovered some news good for me and some not so good news.  I am hesitant to post the not so good stuff, but my property ain’t heaven!  It is a plat of really beautiful property out in the middle of nowhere, doing nothing, and being enjoyed by no one.

The other property you can see on the plat that resides beside mine at the river and runs along on the opposite side of the road is 58.03 acres and currently selling for a bunch of money and has some lovely pictures that mimic my property and nice photos of the river.  The site right next to mine on the other side is 23.39 acres and already has a house on it and is selling for only $280,000 and has some photos of the river that was taken at low ‘tide’.  Not a flattering picture of the river, which I have found out goes up and down, not because of ‘tides’, but because of rain fall AND the dern dam!  Smith Mountain and Leesville dams, that is, and it seems, there is an ongoing battle between the residents there and the folk who live along the river.  Here is a link to the paper regarding this:  Short Link one river resident, Billy Davis of Brookneal, was quite folksy and said:  “There is an old saying in the South that it’s hard to run a dog off his own porch,” he said.

I discovered you must first, before taking your boat out at any of the Staunton River launches and/or Buggs Island launches, check with the US Army Corps of Engineers for water levels.  They have daily updates here:   I also located a .gov site that updates daily the level of water in the Staunton River exactly at Randolph, which is where the land is located:  It seems that 6′ is about normal high?  Don’t know what exactly that means…no yachts?

Neighbor with 58 acres.

Neighbor with 58 acres.

Neighbor with house and picture of river at low 'tide'.

Neighbor with house and picture of river at low