Author Topic: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?  (Read 308 times)

Offline creuzerm

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What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« on: January 27, 2019, 02:54:12 PM »
Some questions about what to look for when buying land in Kentucky.  Mostly around am I thinking about all the things I ought to be considering?

I found a 60ish acre wooded 'holler' with a small house at the bottom of it for sale a couple of hours east of Lexington KY.

The land was coal mined in the 60s, there is the old scale house on the property. This suggests to me that the entrance could have been on the property. The landowner's son said it was a "deep hole mine" and a online record search calls for a "Underground Truck Coal".  https://eppcgis.ky.gov/minemapping/

A bit of research on "Underground Truck Coal" suggests that they are designed to cave in by themselves as they are being vacated.

The map also shows a gas well.

I was told that there is no risk of the kids finding/falling in any holes.

There is a dam across the 'holler' with a small pond. The realtor called this a 'silt pond' on another property. Are these a concern? Contaminated water?

Thoughts? Suggestions?

There are 2, possibly 3 water wells on the property. The one for the house is a 200 feet deep sump style. City water under the street that isn't connected to the house, so a bit of redundancy there.

The house is along a creek, and technically in the 'color' on the flood plain map, labeled "Without Base Flood Elevation". http://watermaps.ky.gov/RiskPortal/  Lots of rain just prior to looking at the property and the creek is flooding up into the trees, and lots of local flooding around but the house is about 8 feet above the elevated water level. So I think the water level isn't a concern. No dams above stream that I can see on the map. Lots of damed up 'hollers' but none of significant size.

What am I not thinking about for the property? What are some of the things in Kentucky that an outsider may not know?

Thanks in advance for your time.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2019, 06:30:02 AM »
I have nothing to add, but Kentucky is on our short list if we move.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 06:44:11 AM »
Although a KY resident, I don't live in the country here, but did in ND. Some thoughts.
1. Have the water tested - all of it. Test especially the house water, the stuff you'll be drinking, as well as the pond water. Best to know what you have instead of wondering.
2. Check the dam. We do have earthquakes occasionally, plus the New Madrid fault is just west of KY in IL. Earthen dams can be iffy.
3. Have the land surveyed to ensure there is no open access to anything underground. Remember that little girl that fell into a fairly small pipe some years back?
4. Check easements to ensure you really own the land and that mine owners or others don't have a claim. It was normal in ND to own the land but not the mineral rights.
5. Check plats to know who - or what company - owns the land around you. I took a pass on a gorgeous piece of property in WY when I found out the local mine owner had an old permit (like 20 years old) to build a rock crushing operation about 1000 yards due south from where my front door would have been sited.
That's abut all I can think of for now.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2019, 08:48:29 PM »
Thanks Pathfinder for your insights.  Very helpful. The water test is one that I thought of, and then had slipped my mind! Very important! Waiting on a local contractor to get back to me (was supposed to be today) about an estimate for an addition to the house. If he holds to his rough estimate after looking at the existing building, I think we will be a go to moving forward.

1) Good idea, I found some assorted tests on amazon and will be picking up a pair. One for the well, the other for the pond. I think the buy/no-buy decision may be around these tests - or at least a strong pricing conversation around getting the property hooked up to the city water under the street (yay redundancies).

2) There is a fault line very near by, interestingly enough. Doesn't appear very large, just a couple dozen miles, and doesn't look to be active. But it was enough to lift the oil/gas a few hundred feet higher than in the surrounding lands in the oil/gas field. I am thinking this may have been part of the boom/bust of the county, as its half as populated as it was when they where drilling lots of wells.

3) This was my fear. I've permission to walk the acreage for a day before I make my offer. I've a good idea of where about to look now. It will be winter time, so I should have good visibility.

4) I need to check this one. There is a big powerline cutting across the back of the property. Doesn't bother me too much because it creates another couple of acres of woodland edge that I don't have to maintain. I will be 'encouraging' pollinator plants in that section I think. It's mined out, but that doesn't mean somebody won't re-instantiate the old claims. The bulk of the mine was actually under the neighboring land, this parcel was used as the in/out area. Soil survey maps corroborate what the land owner and other maps have said about this as well.

5) It's mined-out coal country, the plats are full of mining companies and such. The Army Corps of Engineers owns a bunch of the bottomland I've been told, but I can't get a good pin on where just yet.

It's sounding like it may be a pain to get financing, I've had one local mortgage broker tap out saying he can't get the comps for it for the assessment.

Another interesting website: Acrevalue.com

Offline creuzerm

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 09:04:25 AM »
Offer made! A bit low, $14k less than the current asking. But hoping when they counter, it's priced right at 1 year's salary.

With the property's quirkiness - the bulk of the land is across the street for instance, it's got an awful lot of good points.

Now to wait...

Offline mamabear

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2019, 12:34:48 PM »
Have you heard anything back? You for sure can't go wrong with getting further south. I love it down here.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 10:06:25 PM »
I have my water tests in hand. Practicing with the cheaper kits where I am now.  Taking Monday off work,  gonna do a final inspection including the well, and put in my offer.

There was a miscommunication earlier,  but we have it sorted out.  Forward motion!

Offline creuzerm

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 11:51:27 AM »
Offer accepted. Looks like I am moving to Kentucky! 

Thanks for the thinking points.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2019, 07:55:10 PM »
And done! 66 acres of woods and a couple small fields on a creek with a pond are now mine to tend to.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2019, 08:51:24 PM »
beautiful.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2019, 12:56:23 PM »
Great news, Creuzerm... sounds really lovely.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2020, 09:55:34 PM »
Time marches on, and I finally sold the old property in the Chicago suburbs.  I called the guy who owns the adjacent 15 acres to my new place and made an offer and will be growing my little place to 80 acres at the end of the month.  Cash, yay!  The 15 is much more farmable than the existing 60 with only 25 feet of elevation change across it.

This also secures the only buildable spot within sight of the house so I will maintain my privacy - as much as possible with the house being close to the road.

A second pond, this one .34 acres. A block wall and metal roof well house. So another water well available. Not sure how deep this one will be. 

I will have a mile and a quarter of double wide mowed walking trail in a single loop.  And another half mile of woods logging trails hand mowed with a scythe while I figure out a bog bridge wide enough for my rider mower.

Deer and turkey!

Gonna hold off on the house addition until after this whole coronavirus finishes it's shockwaves across the economy.  It would suck to finish the build and loose my job.  I can currently afford about a 50% shrink in pay and be able to make ends meet - just not happily with no "toys" like Netflix.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: What to be aware of when buying land in KY?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2020, 07:37:03 AM »
Sorry I'm a bit slow in reading this... it all sounds fantastic! Let us know what all you are doing with the new property...