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Subject:  Re: Land for Retirement? Date:  4/18/2005  1:03 AM
Author:  tmeri Number:  847 of 1935

We have a fantasy of retiring back in Texas, and the Austin area. We're big UT fans, and want to get season tickets to football and basketball and go to every game!

Hook 'em!

What considerations should we make if we were to look at this scenario as a long-term investment and retirement goal?

Well, one consideration is that in 10 years you may not feel like you want to go to every UT game. You're still young enough that you'll experience a LOT of change in the next 10 years in your priorities. And you may fall in love with Florida.

Real estate taxes in Texas tend to be high. Every state has to get income from somewhere, so without income tax, you've got RE and sales taxes. Make sure you have a feel for what the RE taxes are going to be each year.

But, could we keep a parcel of land undeveloped for 15 years?

Depends upon what property rights have been lost in the process of the developer stamping a set of Restrictions on the Deed. Very often there is a time limit to build. Ask the realtor for a complete copy of the deed restrictions. If the realtor doesn't provide it or provides only a summary, the restrictions should be recorded at the courthouse. TX is not very good yet with the online deed information, last time I checked, so you may have to find another way to get them.

Could we be forced to develop it or sell it as the rest of the community grows?

Unless the deed has restrictions on it when you buy the property, there are only a couple of ways to be forced to sell. One is emminent domain, or whatever that government ripoff is. The other situation occurs when corrupt government officials conspire with big money people who want your land to raise the taxes to a point where you can no longer afford the property. If the parcel you want is part of a community that is being developed, these two ways are unlikely, so it will probably boil down to the deed restrictions.

If I were you, I'd have a chat with a real estate attorney in the Austin area who also invests in real estate himself and who is not associated with the development in any way before I purchased the property. It would be advice worth paying for.

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