Any upkeeping for a heavily wooded vacant land

3 Replies

hi everyone, I have another newbie question. what are the potential costs to keep a heavily wooded vacant land say for >5years?

I am a foreigner (but will set up a local LLC to buy a land).
Will this (https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/florida/os-ne-florida-man-fine-overgrown-lawn-20210430-lj4g4zyvxzbhdj5gelcq5hbdye-story.html) happen to me when i own a heavily wooded land? They are some houses built around the vacant land and I guess that will increase the chances of getting complaints. So it is just based on the possibility of getting complaints from neighbors only? If the vacant land is a part of the huge wooded land, I guess no one will complain. Is my assumption correct? Any insight will be appreciated. Thanks.

I definitely wouldn't buy vacant land if you aren't able to check on it a couple times a year. Do you have anyone local who can walk it every once in a while? Some problems that happen with unwatched vacant land:

1. Mowing liens. Cities often require property owners to mow land along streets. Tall grass can result in fines. Is the land within a city or an unincorporated area?

2. Illegal dumping. Nefarious folks may try dumping oil, chemicals, etc. on your land and contaminate the soil. You may be responsible for expensive clean-up costs. 

3. Encroachments. The city, utilities, or neighbors may decide to encroach on your land. Look up "prescriptive easements" and "adverse possession". 

4. Trespass. People may decide to trespass on your property on foot, vehicle, etc. If you aren't careful you may be liable for injuries. 

5. Invasive species. Many parts of the country are dealing with major invasive plant and animal problems. If unchecked these can take over your property. Removal can be very expensive. 

6. Condemnation. A government entity may attempt to condemn your property through eminent domain. If you are outside the area and don't have a local representative it can put you in a weak negotiating position. 

7. Taxes. How do you plan to deal with property tax assessments?

Land is incredibly "local". Don't recommend holding long-term if you have no way of monitoring things. Good luck!

Originally posted by @Kc Li :

thanks @Dallas Hayden your insight. I can only answer 1 of your 7 questions (the last one on tax). I guess it is not wise to go ahead.

No problem! I own about a dozen vacant properties and deal with issues occasionally. A few examples:

1. A local TV company dumped a 6' diameter cable spool on one of my lots. Since they left their tag attached, I told them they would need to pick up the spool or I would be reporting to the county. The spool disappeared in 3 days. 

 2. A neighbor started parking his trucks on another one of my lots. After a few months of kind reminders and finally a tow notice, he finally removed his trucks. Another neighbor tried the same thing.

3. Some homeless guys tried setting up camp on one of my properties. The police removed them. 

4. Bought a lot in the country that was covered with Chinese Privet. It took 2 days just to remove enough of the privet so I could gain access to the interior of the lot for a survey. 

Many more examples. Basically land ownership in Texas (and I believe throughout the country) revolves around action. The absent landowner is punished. If you've got someone local you can trust to check things, you can overcome most of these common issues IMO.