Unusual Places to Find Cheap Real Estate

Unusual Places to Find Cheap Real Estate

Face it… we all want a piece of the rock. For some of us though, that rock is made of Unobtainium. However, there are a few places you might not have looked yet for affordable, and sometimes unusual, pieces of real estate.

1) Tax Recovery Sales

Usually once a year, counties will conduct what is known as a “tax recovery sale.” In essence, they auction off lands that have taxes owing. Sometimes the county will toss in its own excess parcels into the mix as well. However, these sales require you to do some intensive research. There is usually no information regarding these properties, so you’ll want to look at things like liens, contamination, zoning and building restrictions. To find out more about these auctions, contact the county in your desired area and they can walk you through the process, as well as provide dates and lists of properties.

2) Municipal Land Sales

Municipalities and counties will also have public land sales, which have a fixed price and are most likely listed with a real estate agent. Sometimes, these plots of land are a fire sale to entice new residents and commerce to towns that are struggling to stay on the map. As an example, a small community in Manitoba was offering lots as low as $10 CDN, with the caveat that construction must be completed within a year. It pays to sniff around your target area, and even expand your boundaries to save some serious cash.

3) Private, unlisted Sales

Pack a lunch, jump in the car and head out for a drive in the country. Physically drive through your target area – chances are you’ll find more than a few “For Sale By Owner” or FSBO properties. Some people don’t like dealing with real estate agents, or coughing up that hefty commission at the end of the sale, and others just aren’t in a hurry to sell, so they post a sign and walk away. The more faded the sign, the more likely the owner will be willing to haggle. If you find real estate that looks interesting and abandoned with no sign or phone number, jot down the address or location and find the owner through Land Registries. He/she just might be willing to negotiate a deal with you.

4) Vintage Commercial Sales

Commercial real estate can offer some of the most unique and interesting properties, and if it’s out of town, very affordable. In many little towns, street front stores already have living quarters in the back, giving you the opportunity to live where you work. Even if the local population isn’t enough to support commercial trade (which is why these properties are for sale), a person can have a home-based business that doesn’t depend on walk in traffic, such as an internet-based venture or an artisan studio. Depending on what type of building it used to be, you may have to have a chat with the local municipal office to determine the type of business allowed, or whether the property can be rezoned from commercial to residential. You’ll save a bundle in taxes having the building zoned for your intended use, rather than its original use.