How to Be a Dirt-smart Buyer of Country Property

How to Be a Dirt-smart Buyer of Country Property

by Curtis Seltzer
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How to Be a Dirt-smart Buyer of Country Property 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is long, comprehensive, humorous, rambling in a folksy homespun way. The author does a fabulous job of covering all of the important facets of buying country land. His depth of knowledge of tax law stands out for a non tax expert. It must have taken a huge amount of research to pull that section together. I own a paperback copy, but just bought the ebook version to save my back from having to lug the paper version around. The paper version is over 700 pages. I am reading the book for the second time and am going to check out some of the numerous internet links referenced in the book. If you are buying rural property this is the book you are going to want to read. It may well help prevent an expensive error. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and reading and reading it (it seemed to take forever to finish).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
March 2, 2009 BOOK REVIEW: 'Dirt-Smart' Guide to Buying Country Property is Encyclopedic in Scope, Vital to Protect Your Wallet, Delightful to Read By David M. Kinchen Book Critic Country property consultant and Highland County, Virginia landowner Curtis Seltzer has written perhaps the most comprehensive guide to buying land in the country with his "How To Be a Dirt-Smart Buyer of Country Property" (Infinity Publishing, 757 pages, $34.95). The book was published almost exactly two years ago, but Seltzer -- who also writes a column for -- says the information contained in his tome is still relevant. At the request of this reviewer, he supplied an e-mail update, exclusive to Huntington News Network: "As a whole, country property -- land, farms, second homes, retirement spots, recreational tracts, lifestyle farms -- have not tracked the steep decline in valuations and selling prices seen in much metropolitan housing for the last 18 months. Some ridiculously over-priced rural properties have, of course, been discounted to more sensible asking prices, often by 50 percent. That, in my opinion, is a retreat into reality, not unfair or economically unhealthy misfortune linked to subprime lending or lack of credit. These properties tend to be concentrated in high-end second homes and corn farms producing for the ethanol market. "My sense of things is that sellers who need to sell are willing to negotiate even when they have not discounted their asking prices. Sales have slowed, and increasing inventory will force truer valuations and selling prices eventually. Credit is available through locally owned banks, credit unions and the federal system of agricultural credit cooperatives. "Country property has held its value much better than stocks during this downturn and has produced better returns for more than 25 years. "In this market, buyers should determine what a property is worth to them, given its assets and liabilities and their plans for it and their resources. That is the price that a buyer should pay. And that price has nothing to do with appraisal value, asking price, comparables and tax-assessed values." Seltzer's breezy, anecdote laden writing style makes this gigantic paperbound book easy to read. That said, there are many pages of valuable technical details that will slow any reader down. Before you can become "dirt-smart" you'll have to become book smart if you're looking for a place of your own in the country. Seltzer says his book "shows you the ways to learn the value and liabilities of rural real estate-second homes, farms, undeveloped land, timberland and investment property. This book is written for buyers, not sellers. It's designed to give you the knowledge to buy at the right price and avoid post-purchase surprises. Most decisions to buy or not buy are made impulsively within 30 minutes of the buyer's first visit. Dirt-Smart shows you how to use your brain to protect your pocketbook from your heart. This book will save you thousands upfront and make you money down the road." That paragraph gives the prospective reader an idea of Seltzer's writing style (see his farm use truck excerpt below for more of his incomparable writing). I like the idea that he distinguishes between "needs" and "wants." Nobody "needs" a place in the countr