When a parcel is not a deal

Of course you’re going to pick a beautiful parcel.  Here’s a few items to ask about.  The list is not exhaustive, but will help you get in the right frame of mind.

Bad water/No Water  Water tables are dropping everywhere.  The problem is worsening, not improving.

This is not the time to buy a property that has bad water.  It’s possible to filter bad water with reverse osmosis and other systems, but why give yourself that problem when there are other parcels available?

Balloon payment

I’m sure you’re good with money.  The new job is going to pay you more, etc.  Stay away from balloon payments anyway.  Please.

No easement

Unless you’re planning on flying or boating to your property, this is a no go.


I’m not just talking about unfriendly people.  You don’t want to be down hill from a pig farm.  Or down wind.  Take a look around the area.

You may find that the parcel next to yours has the right to share your well.  Is that okay?

Prior use

There’s this old farmhouse on a few acres of land.  I used to drive by it when I would go fishing near my home town.  It’s a neat farm, and less than half an hour to some great rainbow and brown trout fishing.  A nearby farm owned it.  They used the driveway to park their trucks.  One day, one of their fertilizer trucks leaked.  All the fertilizer went into the ground.  The well is ruined and most likely another well would be no better.

You also don’t want land that has underground fuel tanks.  You may be liable for them.

I know of a town in eastern Oregon that used to have a canal running through it.  The town filled up the canal in the 30’s or 40’s.  They used crushed cars.  You can imagine the surprise of a new owner beginning to dig their foundation.

Try to get the history of the parcel if you can.  Avoid nasty surprises.