Land's always been important to me. It's real. It's not digits in a computer, squiggles in a ledger, or shiny metal hidden in a box. Land is alive. I can connect with it.
Land is not an investment for me in the normal sense. Apparently, while I wasn't looking, my couple acres on the lake increased quite a bit in "value." That's value as figured by the paper shufflers of the world. To me, its value has increased as it's a better place to live than when I first bought it.
Now you could always plunk a trailer on a bit of junk land in the desert. There are advantages to that approach. It's good to have a piece of land that no one can throw you off of. Since it's "junk" land, it doesn't cost much to buy and it's taxed lightly. For many, those advantages are enough.
My land is taxed fairly high. Not crazy high like land in Manhattan, but high enough for rural NH. My state has no sales or income tax. Taxes on many other things is also low. Heck, we've even got lightly taxed and therefore inexpensive -booze. As former Governor Mel Thompson once said, "Plenty of cheap booze in NH."
But I digress, a bit.
My land is taxed but it's valuable to me in the ways I count value. First of all, there aren't many restrictions to what I can do on my land. I tore the roof off of a cottage and replaced it with a geodesic dome. Try and slip that trick past most building code officials. There are no covenants or residence agreements on my land. No one sold the mineral rights. No one can do anything if I decide to paint the place blazing pink. (not that I would, but I could!)
I've a septic system and shallow well that I dug by hand. I pay no water or sewer bills. Untreated water from my well is truly excellent. What are you paying in water and sewer bills?
When I wanted to put up solar electric panels, I just went ahead and put them up. No permits. No hassle. Wired my own house. No license. No problem.
I process about 125 gallons of waste vegetable fuel on my property every month. It's a filtering, storage, and fueling operation. Saves me a bundle in fuel costs. I've a 200 gallon steel tank sitting on a platform in my driveway. If I want to take the truck on an extra special long trip, the tank can be slid right into the truck and filled with veggie. How many of you can have such an odd thing in their driveway with no one complaining?
Right now there's also some firewood sitting in my driveway. That firewood is cut and split right there. No one is bothered by that. My heating bills are greatly reduced by my ability to process my own firewood.
As for food, there's a couple of small garden plots, fish in the lake, and game in the surrounding woods. Add all that to the value of my land. Soon there'll be a small greenhouse on the property. Will build that myself.
The property works for me. It helps make my life better. No doubt I save much more than what my taxes cost me.
There are few neighbors, (anyone within a couple miles is a neighbor) and the ones I do have, always wave to me and I to them. Some will always stop and chat. We'll help each other out in a pinch.
So when you look for land, look at more than the price and the taxes. What's its true value?
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