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Old 02-11-2009, 02:37 PM
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Default Buying Land in Washington State?



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I have a few words of advice if you may be Buying Land in Washington State. This is a good starting point and a quick guide to help with a few issues that may arise, if you are not educated.

Water rights
Currenty in Washington State the Department of Ecology allows for 5000 galons of water per day to be draw from a well for domestic use. Up to a 1/2 acre of irrigation without having having "Water Rights". Beyond that water rights need to be established anything prior to 1905 in "senior" anything after 1905 is "junior". If the weather does not cooperate and give full water availability, then the "senior" get their full rights and "junior" get a percentage. so if a senior member has 1 acre feet of water in a year then he will get it. If a junior member gets 1 acre feet of water and a drought comes along the state will ration water. Based on reservoir levels the state determines how much the junior member will get if its 50% then the junior member only gets 1/2 acre feet of water . Also water rights need to be used to keep them.

Water is a very touchy situation in all of Washington and it keeps changing every year like the rest of America we are outgrowing this precious resource even here.

Timber Rights
Here in Washington state large amounts of land is for sale cheap, however you do not have the "Timber Rights" to the land. Meanig you own the land someone else owns the trees and can come in at any time and cut them all down. This is on top of "Mineral rights" this allows someone else to own the resources in the ground gold, silver, copper gravel, sand, etc so buyer beware and be careful of what you are buying.

Open Space and Agriculture Land
Another "sucker scheme" is to sell "agriculture" or "open space" designated land, that is not a legal building lot. Unless you pay 7 years of back taxes and interest on at a regular building lot rate on a piece that has been designated this . So if you are taxed much cheaper on "open space" and "agriculture land" this difference to pay can amount into the thousands of dollars quickly for a 20 acre parcel or larger real quick, be careful.

Large Ranch Sucker Schemes
Large ranches have been bought up all over Eastern Washington and are subdivided into resorts or mini ranches. These have a agreement to pay association fees, strict use of land through CCR, building restrictions as to size of home or "no mobile homes or manufactured homes, stick built only" no hunting, no ATV's, no shooting, etc. A few will not allow fences and the cattle are allowed to roam free within the ranch boundaries do to "Open Range." So be very careful as to what you are buying.

Access
Want 20 acres for $15000 in the rural mountains? oh H#LL yeah!.. "oops no access what do you mean". Well lots of this exists and some people want your hard earned money and forget to tell you the land is "land locked" with no "legal easements" or "right of way" to get to the land, so be very careful. Can you get to the land in the winter in a 4X4? or will you have 6 miles of snow removal on your nickel.

In summary
You cant be to careful research what you are getting, ask questions, take your time. If you are going across state or Federal land ensure it is recorded access on the title, to do so. This will prevent you from finding a gate across your access, if some one decides to put a gate up. Also research building requirements, land use and other things with a quick trip to the county seat for drilling a well, septic design, building requirements,power installation (ie running power lines )is the property fenced, has it been surveyed and RECORDED, this brings trouble are stakes in all corner of survey?
Unknown to quite a few people Washington has what is called "Adverse Pocession" This is where land is used and maintained for 10 year or more then after 10 years you have legal ownership of this land! Then by doing a "Quite Title Action" this land is yours. Good luck to any who may be about to purchase land .....hopefully this quick guide can help protect you in you land purchase.

Reservations
They have their own unique set of rules is the land leased, titled or deeded. Who controls the water and building etc. be very very careful on a Reservation and foremost remember they like your money also,.. a 1 percent tax is not uncommon on top of the states 1.78 percent excise tax. if if the land is deeded leased or titled. reservation land is always being bought back by Tribes it takes 2 years to get the land back on the BIA roles, if the land is within a Reservation some Tribes do no have a Reservation but have "Tribal Land" if the land touches other "Tribal" land 2 years for BIA roles if not touching it takes 5 years to become BIA "Tribal Land". A great example of this is the Stillaguamish Tribe in Snohomish county.
They have no formal Reservation where not Federally recognized until July 1 1976. Recently through Casino money they have made several purchases of land in North Snohomish County. Good Luck hope this helps!
Thanks for your time
Greenhorn

Last edited by greenhorn; 02-11-2009 at 05:02 PM.. Reason: Reservations added
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:59 PM
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I do not believe the land locked issue is valid, at least not in my experience. however all the others are fact and that is true in the rural areas of most sates at least in the west. that being said eastern washington has some great deals on land and some beautiful places.
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:03 PM
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I do not believe the land locked issue is valid, at least not in my experience. however all the others are fact and that is true in the rural areas of most sates at least in the west. that being said eastern washington has some great deals on land and some beautiful places.
Try Okanogan County WA i have owner ship of land there, this is one of the great quests I have had when I purchased land. You don't have legal access "Recorded at the County Seat" you are in trouble. Its that simple.
Old 02-11-2009, 03:19 PM
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Default I'd second this fine post for Oregon also..

Anything you read about in the above post figure the same for Oregon. Seen a lot of folks spend crazy amounts of money on dry ranches, no place allowed to build and the sellers are more than happy to sell you a piece of land you can do nothing with-WW
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:12 PM
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Anything you read about in the above post figure the same for Oregon. Seen a lot of folks spend crazy amounts of money on dry ranches, no place allowed to build and the sellers are more than happy to sell you a piece of land you can do nothing with-WW
Just remember every state is different, along with each individual county, check with the county seat where you intend to buy land/house and see what are the specific requirements, for what you chose to do ie well, orchard, recreation, home, farm livestock, etc. However sometimes the best way to go is to let the tool in your hand be your "official county permit". That way you don't get taxed because the county don't know what you have. Then put the money toward additional preps.

Last edited by greenhorn; 02-11-2009 at 06:11 PM..
Old 02-11-2009, 06:44 PM
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I do not believe the land locked issue is valid, at least not in my experience.
"Land-locked" is a very real issue anywhere! It's usually up to you to negotiate an easment to access your new homestead. And it's not limited to Washington. We found some fantastic "deals" offered in Minnesota, until we found out why they were so cheap.

Re:Washington. I lived there most of my adult life. The "real estate speak" always cracked me up! This is the translation of what you might find in Eastern Washington:

"20 sun-drenched acres" means there are no trees.
"Beautiful valley view(s)" means it's on a ridge top.
"Secluded" or "Private" means the road is your responsibility.
"River access" or "Lake access" means you can get there from here.

I read an ad once that had all of the above. I knew exactly where it was, because I was following a real estate sales sign. It was a bald ridge, 5 miles off the nearest Forest Service road with a logging road accessing one corner. The river was at the bottom of the mountain, through Forest Service land.

Let the buyer beware.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:18 PM
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I seem to rememeber it being illegal to sell land locked land in washington. i could be wrong. Okanogan county is beautiful once you get off the river and into the mountains. one thing to check everwhere and eastern washington especially is wind. along the Columbia in the summer it can easily reach 50mph+, same with anything close to a mountain pass. Ellensberg and Moses Lake can blow you into Idaho if you are not strapped down. If anybody is serious about looking in Okanogan, Douglas or Chelan counties drop we a line, i have lived there and traveled extensivly throughout the area. be happy to give you suggestions.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:24 PM
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I would look elsewhere... maybe Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico. There is higher elevations of AZ and NM that get a decent amount of rain and have good groundwater tables. You get more land rights in those 3 states.
Old 02-11-2009, 09:31 PM
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I took a law class about 10 years ago in college. I think it was common law which applies to all of the US but not sure. It may just apply to Alabama. Anyway you can sue for access to your land. The court will not give you access through a yard(yard around your house, barn yard, graveyard etc.. ) or an orchard.
Old 02-11-2009, 09:40 PM
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Ellensberg and Moses Lake can blow you into Idaho if you are not strapped down.
Ha! LOL! And the wind doesn't stop at the WA border. I lived outside of Mt. Home, ID and had a newpaper from a town 30 miles away plastered to my tool shed for three days, before it fell to the ground! (True story!)

Personally, and for what it's worth, I left Washington because of its politics and tax policies. Just before I left, a guy in Snohomish County had the shed he was building in the back of his 5 acres "red-tagged" because he didn't have a building permit. It was a freakin' tool shed!

Watch your step, and do your homework. I could give you some more examples of the difference between Washington and a "free State".
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:16 PM
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Ha! LOL! And the wind doesn't stop at the WA border. I lived outside of Mt. Home, ID and had a newpaper from a town 30 miles away plastered to my tool shed for three days, before it fell to the ground! (True story!)

Personally, and for what it's worth, I left Washington because of its politics and tax policies. Just before I left, a guy in Snohomish County had the shed he was building in the back of his 5 acres "red-tagged" because he didn't have a building permit. It was a freakin' tool shed!

Watch your step, and do your homework. I could give you some more examples of the difference between Washington and a "free State".
Snohomish county is now generous enough to allow for p to 400 sq ft with out a building permit in unincorporated areas of the county. In Okanogan county you can build up to 4000 sq ft without a building permit, if it is for agriculture purposes. I will not disagree on taxes or politics out of 39 countyies in this state 4 control them all,( ie King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap) they have the most liberals and voters who mess things up for the rest of us...
Old 02-11-2009, 11:23 PM
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Snohomish county is now generous enough to allow for p to 400 sq ft with out a building permit in unincorporated areas of the county. In Okanogan county you can build up to 4000 sq ft without a building permit, if it is for agriculture purposes. I will not disagree on taxes or politics out of 39 countyies in this state 4 control them all,( ie King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap) they have the most liberals and voters who mess things up for the rest of us...
If my high school math serves me well, that's 20'x20' shed. Generous. Considering I'm living in a 20'x24' cabin, I guess that's okay.

I just got tired of driving through Lakewood and not being able to read any of the store signs because they were in a foriegn language.
Old 02-12-2009, 10:40 AM
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If my high school math serves me well, that's 20'x20' shed. Generous. Considering I'm living in a 20'x24' cabin, I guess that's okay.

I just got tired of driving through Lakewood and not being able to read any of the store signs because they were in a foriegn language.
Sad that government does not allow one to do as they please for dwellings for their own personal use, on their land. I would much rather cut out all the red tape and have someone build something, and not be hassled by the government. The current policy drives people out of the state, mainy big business, costing jobs and taxes, in return it burdens people here with more taxes.
I don't know when you left the area, but it has not gotten any better Monroe , Arlington, Mt Vernon, Sedro Wooley, and Burlington have lots of signs that look like little Mexico. Sad to say the elementary school that my child goes to has a greeter in the morning speaking Spanish to all the Mexican children. How is this giving them a education for America?. Before long I will be your neighbor in Montana, leaving for the same reason as you stated. At least they still speak English in your neck of the woods. Best of luck to you in your new surroundings.
Old 02-12-2009, 01:38 PM
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I grew up in WA and was attempting to move back and buy land. Unfortunately all the damn yuppies have driven the price sky high and subdivided everything and installed CCR. I hated them when I left WA for destroying the Olympics, and now they've destroyed the whole damn state IMHO (at least the western portion).

Nah, I'll stay here in CO where I can do what I want when I want.

BTW stay away from the Reservations, they can CONFISCATE there land back if they are so inclined.
Old 02-12-2009, 01:47 PM
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The worst thing about "buying" land on a Reservation is that they are ultimately under Federal jurisdiction. So there ya go, when TSHTF.
Old 02-12-2009, 03:30 PM
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I live in Minnesota and have looked on and off for the past couple years for land. There are some deals in the northern third of the state, but the soil there is very poor and you'll be in a zone 3 hardiness zone (http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/hzm-nm1.html). Bottom-line, it's a poor place to think about laying in a garden or hobby farm. The land in the southern third of the state is some of the best agricultural land in the country, and the price of a hobby farm is now beyond a middle-class budget unless you have a lot of money saved up.

I agree with the original poster on rights and easement -- probably the two critical issues after zoning+taxes. The other issues would be a water/soil test. You don't want to get anything that's contaminated, etc.

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"Land-locked" is a very real issue anywhere! It's usually up to you to negotiate an easment to access your new homestead. And it's not limited to Washington. We found some fantastic "deals" offered in Minnesota, until we found out why they were so cheap.

Re:Washington. I lived there most of my adult life. The "real estate speak" always cracked me up! This is the translation of what you might find in Eastern Washington:

"20 sun-drenched acres" means there are no trees.
"Beautiful valley view(s)" means it's on a ridge top.
"Secluded" or "Private" means the road is your responsibility.
"River access" or "Lake access" means you can get there from here.

I read an ad once that had all of the above. I knew exactly where it was, because I was following a real estate sales sign. It was a bald ridge, 5 miles off the nearest Forest Service road with a logging road accessing one corner. The river was at the bottom of the mountain, through Forest Service land.

Let the buyer beware.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Zombie Hunter View Post
I grew up in WA and was attempting to move back and buy land. Unfortunately all the damn yuppies have driven the price sky high and subdivided everything and installed CCR. I hated them when I left WA for destroying the Olympics, and now they've destroyed the whole damn state IMHO (at least the western portion).

Nah, I'll stay here in CO where I can do what I want when I want.

BTW stay away from the Reservations, they can CONFISCATE there land back if they are so inclined.
I grew up in CO and wanted to buy land, unfortunately all the dang out of staters who have fled here have driven the price of land sky high and subdivided everything and have built houses All over the place. Specially every nook and cranny in the hills along highways and around mountain towns. And now they've destroyed the whole dang state (at least the Front Range) from Pueblo thru Denver to Ft. Collins - making a dang megalopolis.

One more reason I am spending more and more time and soon will move to (so far) unspoiled and not overdeveloped Wyoming. At least in Wyoming I can do what I want when I want. I don't think I could get away with building a bunker or my survival retreat at least as cheaply - in Coloradica. To all stop Californicating Colorado and hope developers will stop Coloradicating Wyoming
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:58 AM
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Default False housing market

And why did the influx of out-of-staters drive the housing/land prices up?
Were there lines of buyers, each out bidding the other?
"I'll give you $100,000 for that 20 acres!"
"Well, I'll give you $125,000!"
"No! I'll give you $150,000!"
I don't think so!
And how did they hear about this Colorado/Wyoming/Montana/Idaho land in the first place?

The prices and availability of land in the Rocky Mountain States has been promoted solely by local real estate agencies! They've lied, cheated to acquire local land and put on a dog-and-pony show for the east and west coast buyers for a decade, at least. In my area, they've created a false housing market in an area which offers no industry, no jobs and no cultural entertainment (theater, museums, dining, etc.). We now have $400,000 homes going on a deflating market after the new buyers find out they can't handle the isolation, or their mortage.

People didn't come into this area and offer to pay 5x what the property was worth...they were told what it was worth by a greedy real estate agent!

So the next time you run into Billy-Bob at your little grocery store, don't slap him on the back and ask about the wife and kids. Glare at him, and tell him to go build a golf course somewhere else! And thank him for driving up the prices, so your kids can't afford a place of their own in the area.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:26 PM
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This is my 40 acre Homestead I live on now. Took 16 years to get it to what it is now.


Found this site on a Google Search and came upon the Washington Property post. I have lived in Eastern Washington for 16 years now and also bought land on the Colville Indian Reservation to build my home on. No they can't take your land back if you have title to it. You also need to make sure a county road accesses it cause they can close indian roads down to non indian property owners. Haven't seen this happen for 16 years tho. All the talk about buying land in a secluded location made me want to post my cabin on 13 1/2 acres that I have for sale up near Chesaw, WA. I just built this place and it seems to meet all the dreams of a person wanting a remote get away location to own for only $49,000.00 not the $100K prices I have saw here in this post? Take a look at my photo album I did on the property and cabin I think you will like it. I live on 40 acres with my own lake in the middle of no where and this is the only reason I am selling my cabin. It is brand new and I built it for something to do as a disabled Vietnam vet to keep his mind sane. I hope the pictures and link show up cause this is my first post. Mark
My Cabin for sale in Eastern Washington link to the photo site about it. http://imageevent.com/willy/cabinproperty
[URL="http://imageevent.com/willy/cabinproperty"][IMG][/IMG]

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Old 03-10-2009, 12:18 AM
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The prices and availability of land in the Rocky Mountain States has been promoted solely by local real estate agencies! They've lied, cheated to acquire local land and put on a dog-and-pony show for the east and west coast buyers for a decade, at least. In my area, they've created a false housing market in an area which offers no industry, no jobs and no cultural entertainment (theater, museums, dining, etc.). We now have $400,000 homes going on a deflating market after the new buyers find out they can't handle the isolation, or their mortage.
... and thus sewn the seeds of this global meltdown. (not your location per se, but those events repeated everywhere...)
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