I noticed there was a lot for sale near Alta Sierra that is almost a full acre, and it is listed for $25,000. I thought this might be a good value, but I knew I would have to go look at it to make a determination. Unlike houses, where a few pictures tells the story about value about what already exists, the value of vacant land is determined by the future cost of development. If you are thinking of building a home, the cost of developing the lot is a very important consideration.
This lot is about 550 long but only 80 or 90 feet wide at the road frontage, and gets narrower as it rides up the hill. Plus, there is a seasonal water course that traverses the property boundaries from top to bottom, creating a riparian zone that will require setbacks. All this, plus the property is in an area where the soil type is known for its general difficulty in percolation testing, and it is presumed that a very expensive septic system design would be required. Add in the cost of a well and bringing power up to the building site, and this property very quickly looks like it is not such a good deal after all.
When I was doing my research I looked at the areal photos and noticed there is similar shaped property right next door and when I did a little more homework I saw it had been listed for sale last year, also for $25,000. I had walked on both properties when I was out looking, so I had a good idea of where this second parcel was located and if a driveway could be constructed using both parcels then it might be possible to get up to a building site. A neighbor had used the same strategy in building their driveway. The areal photos show how a neighbor had purchased a property further up the street next to his property and build a long serpentine driveway up to his home. This parcel could use a similar approach, but it would take an engineer to site the driveway to make sure there was enough room for the switchback that would be required to get up the hill.