Front Cover
 Back Cover

Group Title: Circular
Title: Checklist for evaluating rural homesites
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091346/00001
 Material Information
Title: Checklist for evaluating rural homesites
Series Title: Circular
Physical Description: 12 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Abbitt, Ben, 1940-
Colette, W. Arden
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 197-
Subject: Homesites -- Evaluation   ( lcsh )
Land use, Rural   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Ben Abbitt and Arden Colette.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "3-2M-77"--P. 4 of cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091346
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 20607665

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Back Cover
        Page 14
Full Text

Circular 422

Checklist for Evaluating

Rural Homesites

Ben Abbitt and Arden Colette

Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
John T. Woeste, Dean



Ben Abbitt and W. Arden Colette

The increase in people purchasing and living on small rural acreages

in Florida has been dramatic during the past few years. This trend appears

to be continuing. There are many reasons that individuals and families

want to purchase small rural acreages. They may want to establish a week-

end hideaway, a permanent country home, a future retirement home, a part-

time farm or they may have other personal reasons. If you are considering

the purchase of a lot or acreage in the country, this checklist may be

helpful in evaluating potential locations.

All of the items on the checklist are important in evaluating what

property to buy and where to buy it. However, certain items on the check-

list will take on added importance depending upon the reasons that you wish

to purchase land in the country. If you plan to establish full-time resi-

dence in the country but still maintain your job in town or if your family

has many activities in town, the distance, cost and time required for com-

muting to and from your job or family activities take on added importance.

In addition, if a family member is in poor health, the availability of

medical services, type of services and the time required to receive medical

assistance becomes more important.

If you are beginning a part-time farming operation, the size of the

unit takes on added importance. The unit should be small enough so it

can be handled in the amount of time you have available. On the other

BEN ABBITT is an Assistant Professor of Food and Resource Economics
and an Extension Farm Management Economist located at the Agricultural Research
and Education Center, Lake Alfred. W. ARDEN COLETTE is an Assistant
Agricultural Economist with the Food and Resource Economics Department,
Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, Gainesville.

Page 2

hand, the unit must be large enough to justify your expenditure for

equipment or to provide sufficient feed for livestock you may raise.

The major categories in the checklist include evaluation of legal

considerations, availability and quality of services, physical charac-

teristics and location of the site, and personal considerations.

Evaluating Legal Considerations

Legal considerations should be given careful attention when pur-

chasing land for a rural residence. Zoning regulations, characteristics

of the mortgage and deed and the assessed valuation and taxation of the

property are very important in evaluating a potential land purchase.

Zoning regulations are extensions of societies' regulatory power which

restrict the present and future use of property. They dictate what uses

can and cannot be undertaken on private property within a given area.

The restrictions imposed by zoning regulations should be clearly under-

stood before any land is purchased.

Ownership of property is usually transferred in one of three ways:

(1) by warranty deed; (2) by quitclaim deed; or (3) by contract for deed.
A warranty deed guarantees that the seller has a valid title to the prop-

erty. The title will be transferred free and clear of all liens and will

be subject only to those encumbrances which are presently known or recorded.

The seller guarantees that he will defend the title against all existing

claims against the property.

A lien is a claim against a portion of the value represented by prop-

erty. A lien is not a right to the property itself but consists of the

right to have it sold or otherwise applied in order to satisfy a debt. A

lien may be established by a mortgage or deed of trust, taxes, street

Page 3

improvement assessment, conditional sales contract, unrecorded trust

deed, or the interest of a purchaser during the redemption period

following a foreclosure sale. An encumbrance may be any right to, or

interest in property which is held by another person. It may lower

the value of the property or restrict its use but does not prevent the

transfer of title. A lien is an encumbrance. However, an encumbrance

also may be the result of a lease, a restriction in the deed, the en-

croachment of a building onto the property, an easement or right of way,

an attachment, accrued and unpaid taxes, or the statutary right of

redemption following a foreclosure.

A quitclaim deed is a legal document used to release one person's

right, title or interest in property to another person without providing

a guarantee or warranty of title. The buyer acquires only the interest

in the property which was held by the seller. The interest represented

may not be large enough to convey control of the property to the buyer.

A contract for deed is a legal agreement between two parties pro-

viding for the purchase of a piece of property with the transfer of title

to take place at some future date after conditions established by the

contract have been met. Under contract for deed, it is often possible

to purchase property with a much lower down payment. But the actual

title often is not transferred until 50 or even 100 percent of the pur-

chase price has been paid. Often under a contract for deed, if any pay-

ment is missed the contract is declared in default. The title of the

property remains with the seller and all payments up to that time are

considered as rent and are forfeited to the seller. It is very important

to have your lawyer explain the provisions contained in a contract for

deed before you sign it.

Page 4


Zoning Regulations
What is the present zoning classification on the
Are your plans for the future use of the land
included in the permitted uses in that zoning
What is the minimum lot size allowed?
What is the minimum floor size (square footage)
for housing units?
Are mobile homes allowed to be permanently placed
on the property?
Can mobile homes be utilized on the property while
a house is being constructed?
How soon must a house be constructed on the property?
Are there any expected future zoning changes?
If so, will the expected changes affect your
planned life style?
If you are considering raising livestock for a
hobby or extra income, are accessory buildings
permitted in that area?
What is the most undesirable type of development
allowed in the area you are considering?
Are undesirable activities restricted or precluded
on adjoining land?

Characteristics of the Deed and Mortgage

Warranty deed
Is the title to be transferred through a warranty deed?
If so, does the deed contain any covenants which
will restrict the present or future use of the


Page 5

Are all or part of the mineral rights or timber rights
retained by the previous owner or are they transferred
with the title to the land?

If a portion of the mineral rights or timber rights are

1. What rights does the seller retain for entry
and removal of minerals or timber?

2. Are there any limits to the amount of damage
that can be done to the property in the process
of mining or removing these resources?

3. Are there any provisions for compensation for
damages to the property?

4. Are there any provisions for returning the
property to a useful condition?

Are there any easements for utilities or access to other
property included in the conditions in the deed?
(Easements and other restrictions on the title will be
found in the property abstract).

Quitclaim deed

Is the right, title or interest in the property being
transferred by means of a quitclaim deed?

If so, what is the extent of the interest that
the seller has in the property?

What interest in the property do other people have?

What other considerations must be met before a clear
title can be obtained to the property?

Contract for deed

Is the property being purchased under a contract for

Under what conditions will a warranty deed be issued
and title to the property transferred?

What are the conditions under which the contract will
be declared in default?

Are sufficient safeguards built into the purchase
agreement to protect the buyer from unreasonable loss
or forfeiture of the property?

Page 6

Mortgage conditions

What is the term of the mortgage?

What is the amount of each payment?

When are the payments due?

Under what conditions will the buyer be declared in
default on the mortgage?

If the purchaser defaults on the mortgage, how will
the property be disposed of in satisfying the condi-
tions of the mortgage?

Will the purchaser be credited for the equity that he
has built up prior to defaulting on the mortgage?

Taxes and assessments

What is the present assessed valuation of the property?

What are the current taxes?

Are there any liens against the property for unpaid back

Are there any special assessments on the property?

Are there any major changes in taxes anticipated in the
near future?

Have you retained a lawyer to inspect the deed, the
abstract and the mortgage documents for you?

Evaluating Availability and Quality of Services

Often the desire for privacy and solitude must be offset by the

desire to maintain services which a person has become accustomed to

while living in an urban area. It is desirable before you purchase

rural property to decide what level of services you need in order to

be happy in your new location. These services include police protec-

tion, fire protection, health services, education facilities and public

communication facilities.

Page 7

Police protection

Is the city or county police department responsible for
providing police protection?
Is your area regularly patrolled?
If so, how often is it patrolled?

What is the distance to the nearest police station?

What is the response time to a call for help to the

Fire protection
What is the distance to the nearest fire station?

What is the response time of the nearest fire
protection equipment to a call for help?

What is the fire protection rating in this area and
how does this affect the cost of insurance?

Are there additional costs associated with the
number of miles your future residence may be
located from the nearest fire station?

In forest areas, where is the nearest fire tower?

Health services
What is the distance to the nearest hospital or
emergency room?

Is the hospital equipped with special equipment to
service a particular illness in your family?
What is the distance to the nearest physician?

Is ambulance service available in this area?

What is the basic cost of ambulance service?

Are there additional costs associated with the
distance your residence is from the ambulance

Is there home delivery of medicine and drugs from
the local drugstore?

Page 8

Educational services

Are there accredited elementary and secondary schools

What is the quality of local schools?

Are there private schools within commuting distance?

Are school buses operational and safe?

Is there a Community College or Vocational Technical
School within commuting distance?

Are Adult Education classes available locally?

Are property taxes in line with the quality of the
local school system?

Utilities and sanitation services

Is electrical service available?

What is the hook-up cost?

What is the estimated monthly rate for electrical

Is telephone service available?

What is the hook-up cost and what is the monthly
rate for telephone service?

Are private lines available or is it necessary
to have a party line?

Is a community water system available?

What is the cost of hook-up?

What is the monthly charge for water service?

Are sewage facilities available?

What is the cost of the hook-up?

What is the monthly charge?

Is there regular garbage pick-up in the area?

Are there additional costs associated with the
number of miles your future residence may be
located from the nearest sanitation department?

Page 9

Public communication services

Is the daily paper delivered in the area?

Are there additional costs associated with the
distance your residence is from the newspaper

How many AM radio stations can be received?

How many FM radio stations can be received?

How many TV channels can be received?

What is the quality of TV reception?

Is cable TV available?

What is the monthly charge?

Evaluating Characteristics of the Site

The physical characteristics and location of the site will deter-

mine, to a large extent, the potential for future use of the property

and the enjoyment you will receive. The size of the property, vegeta-

tive cover, topography and soil characteristics all need careful con-

sideration before purchasing the property.

The location of the site and its accessibility will determine, to

a large extent, how much time you can actually spend enjoying your new

residence and how much time you will spend commuting to and from stores,

work, church and other activities.

Physical characteristics

Will the property drain in the rainy season (late spring
and summer)?

In what direction?

Is the property in the 50 year or 100 year flood plain
of a nearby stream or lake?

Page 10

Is the site wooded or barren?

What is the estimated cost if the property needs
to be cleared for construction?

Will the soil grow the grass, shrubbery and vegetables
you desire?

If not, what will the cost be to treat the soil
so that it will produce the desired plants?

Where is the water table located?

Is it at a depth where costs for drilling a well
are prohibitive?

Are septic tanks allowed?

If septic tanks are allowed, will the soil on the
site pass a percolation test?

If septic tanks are not allowed, what alternatives
are available for waste disposal?

Is the site fenced?

Is the fencing sturdy enough to enclose family
pets or livestock?

What type of trees and ground vegetation are growing on
the property? (Species of trees are often good indica-
tors of soil conditions.)

What is the size of the property? (One acre is 43,560
square feet or approximately 208 feet square.)

Has its size been surveyed for accuracy or estimated
for convenience?

Is the site recorded in the official records at the
County Courthouse?

Location of site

What type of road services your property?

Who is responsible for road maintenance?

Is the road maintained regularly throughout the year?

Will future highway construction infringe on the

Page 11

Is the site located where traffic noise from a highway
will disturb you?

Are your neighbors located at a distance where
privacy can be kept?

Are your neighbors located near enough that they
can readily summon help in an emergency?

Will the location of your house be visible from
a neighbor's residence or yard?

How long will it take you to walk or run to the
nearest neighbor's house?

Are there shopping centers located nearby?

Are you familiar with the stores in the center?

Is there a convenience store nearby for "errand"

Are there churches located nearby?

Is there one with a denominational faith similar
to yours?

If there is not a church nearby, is there a
suitable one within commuting distance?

Is there a library located nearby?

Are there civic organizations located in the area?

Are there recreational facilities located nearby for
the children?

Are there plans for recreation facilities to be

How distant is your job from the property?

Is there traffic congestion on your route to work?

Will the additional vehicle be necessary to carry out
the family's normal activities?

Is the property located in an area serviced by an
automobile towing service?

Will traffic from a nearby highway produce a hazard
for children and pets?

Are airline and train transportation available locally?

Will noise from a nearby airport or railroad be a problem?

Page 12

Personal Considerations

This checklist does not include all of the questions which you

will want answers to in evaluating potential rural residence sites.

Each individual and family has unique needs and goals that they will

consider of special importance. List these additional needs and con-

cerns in the Notes section. The questions included on this list are

selected to bring attention to problems which are often overlooked

and to provide a basis for comparing alternative sites.

After all of the individual questions and considerations have

been answered to your satisfaction, you should have a good idea of

any legal or physical deficiencies associated with the property.

You should also know if the quality and availability of services is

sufficient to meet your needs. At this point, the evaluation can be

summed up by answering three questions.

1. Are there any legal problems that make the
property unsuitable?

2. Does the property meet the needs and desires
of you and your family?

3. Can the goals you have established be accom-
plished with the time, money and energy you
have available?

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
K. R. Tefertiller, Director

Single copies are free to residents of Florida and may be obtained from the County Extension Office. Bulk rates are available upon
request. Please submit details of the request to CM. Hinton, Publication Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida 32611.

This publication was promulgated at a cost of $277.80, or 13.9 cents per copy, to assist families who live in rural areas
in evaluating potential homesites.


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