Friday, September 25, 2009

The Pacific Crest Trail

Do you know this trail? This is a trail that runs basically from Mexico to Canada. If necessary it would serve as an excellent escape route for any one living West of the Rockies. Winding its way through remote National Forests, the traveler can easily move from California to Washington unnoticed by another soul.From this main trail you can find connecting points heading East,to Idaho,and Montana.

The Pacific Crest Trail is almost entirely within The National forests that are sort of clustered together. Each forests cluster having a long narrow portion connecting to another cluster of forests and so on. These connections make it possible to travel long distances without needing to even touch civilization except to cross a highway or under a highway bridge. Following this trail will safely route you far away from cities and towns. In a shit hitting the fan scenario avoiding people could save your life.

This trail existence is not commonly realized. You probably have crossed it while traveling on a highway and never knew. In fact if you live in the Western portion of the US I can guarantee you have crossed the Pacific Crest Trail and its spurs several times while traveling on roads and highways.

Strangely, this trails route is shown by most Atlas maps yet hikers and horseman are the few familiar with its existence. A horse is your best bet by far to travel this trail. Unfortunately a horse is not available to most. Motorized vehicles are not allowed, but if the world is coming to an end, I doubt anyone would notice.

If this route is an option in your bug out plan, You will need your survival provisions for a comfortable journey. If you find yourself traveling this trail without food provisions. Your survival could be made by the wild game found in and around your path. Water will not likely be a problem. There are lots of opportunity to access streams rivers and springs throughout most of the year (except in the South half of CA during summer water is not as plentiful).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Moron buyer (scammer)

I received a letter the other day.

I make it a point to have property deeded in other names than my own(I will cover why this is important on another day).

This guy writes he is interested in purchasing property and he found my address checking county tax records.

He writes; (he is assuming the owner lives out of state)the land in this area is "only good for grazing" "There is no water in the area" and "the winters are cold and severe". He also ads that most "property in this area does not have access".

This is just rude and stupid all at the same time.
Its an obvious form letter. he sent the letter without researching the land. None of his statements are true except "the winters are cold and severe"

This is an example of what NOT to do. He is trying make the property sound much worse than it is. Hoping he can get property for a song and dance. He is assuming the land owners ignorance of values.

What he doesn't know is, I know who he is. He also doesn't know i am receiving one of his form letters.

He also goes on to write some thing about him being a large rancher in the area. This is also bull-shit. I know him and his dip-shit brother, There both goat herders;except when there in jail.

Just for fun I called and left a message; saying my name (he knows my name) and I heard he was looking for property in that area.

He never called back.


Another approach to buy land is with a loan assumption. Most mortgage companies strictly forbid this activity, unless they approve the buyer. But to do this you need good credit and verifiable income. If you could pass all that……….you don’t need to assume. You could go the conventional rout, and buy any property you want (in your price range).

Here’s a way around that.

First let me caution you, don’t get delusions of becoming the next Donald Trump! You wont make money doing this even on a large scale. The equity is not there! Real Estate Holdings are NOT, a measure of wealth! (Gold and Silver are).

A good place to start is the legal section of the local papers. Foreclosure notices are listed here, the Mtg. Co. is required to post notice of foreclosure the ad has to run for, some thing like 2 weeks (it’s a small window of opportunity so check them regularly). The notice will list the names of owners (some times there mailing address) and amounts owed. Including payment amount and interest rate. There are other ways of finding foreclosures but this is an old method that still works well.

Then attempt to contact the owner. Then make your offer, You need to let them know it can be a win win situation. Lets say (rounding numbers) the delinquent mgt. is for 50k 30yr fixed at 10% monthly payments are 500.00. He is five years in-to the note.

There is NO equity here, owner has only a few options:
1, sell property outright.(not likely he currently owes more than the market will bear).

2, A short sale with a Real Estate Agent. ( also not likely, first they need a buyer with money or ability to get a loan. Also the Mtg. Co will pressure the seller to add cash, to cover the short sale.)

3, Your deal a WIN WIN! You give him 2500.00 he pays the lender the delinquent amount of 1500.00 he puts the 1000.00 in his pocket Conveys property to you by deed (You can use a Quit Claim Deed but you should preferred a Warranty Deed. More on deeds in another post) You agree to pay all future monthly payments on time. You saved the owner from a foreclosure, also saving his credit. As long as you make the payments in a timely fashion the Mgt. Co. Is not likely to look close and wont notice ownership has changed.
It will remain on the sellers credit report until the loan is paid off.
There is a million different spins you can apply for protection of you and the seller, With contracts, escrow agents, and re-convey clauses.
The basic idea is if you have more time than money this can be a great option.

Mostly a loan switch will be found with houses but if you look hard and long you can find land. If you currently live in a city a small house in a small town may be a better option. There are small towns in Montana and others that allow livestock in your back yard. Also building codes are nil if any. Some still have a well in the yard, or an irrigation ditch running by.

To be continued in part III


I have been living off grid for about 5 years now and through that experience I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. Some mistakes were expensive, some success were cheap.

I have been self employed for most of my life. I continued doing business living off-grid. My home is my office/shop.

I am not even going to attempt covering it all with this post, it will require many posts and several days to even scratch the surface.

First off you need to find land!

Don’t try the local Real Estate Office expecting to find dirt cheap land, or even land on a contract for deed (C4D). The real estate agency needs to make money so there fees are needing to get paid before you could enter a contract with the owner, like a C4D. The owner may need money to pay an existing loan on the property allowing a clear title for your contract.

Lets say you find a property listing for 100k a common percentage for real estate agency is 6% (depends on the state). It’s a shot in the dark but if the owner only owes say 20k then your still needing at minimum 26K plus payments. The owner may not be willing to enter a C4D with out cash in his pocket (he spent his 20k to pay of the loan). The other problem is the owner probably will not be willing to discuss his debt on the land to a potential buyer (if you can talk with him at all, remember there’s a real estate middle man). Sometimes the Agent my have this info and share it with you. But before you start calling everybody with land for sale you will need to invest some time in your own finances.

To quote Clint Eastwood: A man has got to know his limitations. Do some realistic figures; how much money do YOU have?, how much can you come up with in time for closing.
I deal with people every day on land I have for sale, The honest truth 99.9 percent of these people are full of shit! They say things like “I will be paying cash” or “oh I have that much, no problem” and then they want a bunch of pictures, sometimes it’s a big tour, or endless phone calls they repeat the same question (indicating their not paying attention, and there interests are only to get attention) then it turns out there just another broke dick with no money and no respect for my time. Don’t be one of these people! We have other names for these people: Shit birds, Fender lizards, and Daydream believers, Scammers, Whistle dickers, among others. Be honest with yourself, and honest with the sellers regarding how much you can pay.

Don’t misunderstand, I am not recommending the real estate agent route. Sometimes opportunity will make a possibility for a deal. I am also not recommending debt.

With any real estate route when calling, introduce yourself (especially in rural areas) and reference where you saw the ad: Hello, this is Buck Sexton from my town, Montana. I saw your ad in the Billings Gazette. (Don’t waste your time or theirs by saying “I’m very interested” they know your interested that’s why you called. Also don’t ask “why are you selling it” Its none of your business. Obviously they would rather have the money than the land. And please don’t say “I’m calling to inquire regarding…..” I hear this all to often.
1, Its not grammatically correct.
2, Your probably not from England nor are you a reporter.
3, It just sounds stupid.
4, it’s a dead giveaway for a rookie.

After your polite introduction, (Always make it a point to start off politely, if they decide to be an ass then act accordingly) Your not going to improve your situation by insulting there property. Don’t say things like “junk land” or “its not good for anything”. If your calling for a price, don’t say “WHHHHHAAAAT” like you’re flabbergasted. If the price is to high, YOU need to decide whether to move on or work on lowering the price. If your counting on owner financing don’t expect to get both. To get a price lowered CASH will work wonders.

Try something like this;
You :It says in your ad your asking 20k for your parcel.

Seller: yep!

You: Well could you take a down payment, with terms? ( if you don’t have money for a down just say “terms”)

Seller: Well maybe what kind of terms were you thinking? I can’t wait forever for MY money.
(ok here’s the thing, he knows the market sucks. The property is costing him money, And if he is like most people he needs money too. He also knows bank loans are tough to come by, especially on raw land. Also if its been for sale for a while he is probably tired of talking to whistle dickers).

(Do you remember I said to figure your cash situation first?
This is why, He wants to here about money! How much are you going to give him!)

You say: (try to keep it general) Well I could do something like, 2k down and a Balloon in 5 yrs.

Seller says: Well, what kind of of interest are ya thinking?

Now at this point you need to decide weather to keep punching numbers or stop and do some figuring. The norm on a C4D is 10% give or take. But honestly the interest rate on a short term note wont make that big of a difference.
The thing that will bite you is the amortization term. Its sad to say but any payments you make in that five year term will be lost to interest (front-loading). The trick here is to make the amortization term as long as the seller will allow, There-by lowering your payments and lessening your loss.

Remember you will need to pay your balance in 5 years it will be slightly less than 18k. If you don’t; you will lose it all!

To be continued: in part II