Just the other day I got a phone call from a reader of our blog. They were wondering about our use of median values as opposed to average values in our post on Land and Acreage for sale in the Augusta, GA market. I considered giving a more detailed description in the post but as it was long enough I decided it was probably unnecessary. In retrospect, it was an error to omit the explanantion of what it is and why I used it. I’m going to use this post to correct that error. Continue reading
Surveying is probably more complicated than most people want to understand, but if you own land or are thinking of buying land, an understanding of what information is conveyed on a Plat of Survey can be invaluable in making good decisions. This series is an effort to take some of the mystery out of reading a plat of survey.
Before going further, a couple of definitions are in order. A survey is the actual process of going to the property and physically finding the boundaries and measuring the directions and distances between boundaries. A plat of survey refers to the piece of paper on which the surveyor has rendered a representation of what the surveyor found on the ground. More often than not, a plat of survey is just referred to as a plat. A surveyor is a person licensed to create plats of survey. In Georgia this may be a Registered Land Surveyor, or a County Surveyor. A County Surveyor is allowed to perform surveys in their county only unless they also are Registered Land Surveyors.
Reading the Information blocks:
The information blocks on a plat of survey provide useful information. These may include:
- An associated name – This can be the name of a subdivision, who the property was surveyed for, or a general name that helps identify the property.
- Property location: In Georgia you will usually find the State, the county, the Georgia Militia District or the township, section, and range. It may or may not contain further information such as street address, Lot and Block information, or other identifying words. Location information is essential in that legal descriptions require recitation of State, and county.
- Size or Acreage: A plat will normally contain a line of information that describes the size of the property as determined by the survey. It is normally expressed as acres, but may be expressed as square feet (43,560 square feet per acre.) This information may be found in the information block or in the middle of the drawing.
- Scale information: Usually you will find a written scale that the plat was originally drawn with, i. e. 1″ = 200′. This would mean that a line drawn that is one inch in length on the paper would be equivalent to 200′ on the ground of the property being surveyed.
- Date of Survey: The date which a property was surveyed is important for many reasons. The date indicates things that the surveyor found at a particular date and these may readily have vanished at a later date. For instance when a corner is marked as the base of a pine tree, that tree may have been removed at a later date. Magnetic declination also varies according to the date. Trying to use badly outdated plats for magnetic reference can induce serious error.
- Scale Bar: A scale bar is a bar showing the length of certain lines relative to the drawing. This is important since many plats are photocopied and in the process many change the scale on the paper. By measuring the actual scale bar, a user can determine if the actual scale has been modified and if it has, how it can be corrected.
- North Arrow: North Arrows can reflect either Grid North, True North, or Magnetic North. Continue reading
In a previous post we discussed some of the facets of auctions that everyone looking to buy land at auction should know. But, as the post became rather lengthy I decided to break it up into two posts. This post will primarily deal with the pros and cons of land auctions for both the buyer and the seller. There are a myriad of both for either party, just as there are in any type of real estate transaction. I certainly can’t cover them all, but I will give you a few just to get you started. Continue reading
So, you’ve decided you’re interested in buying land in Georgia and you see an auction coming up. No problem right? Well, maybe or maybe not. Real estate auctions can unquestionably be a place where one can find great deals on land. They can also be a bear trap for someone who has little experience with them. So what should you know in order to be successful at an auction?
The first thing I would tell anyone who is interested in buying land or acreage at an auction is that they are not for neophytes. Auctions are fast paced and can be confusing for someone who has not been to them before. The auctioneers are there for one purpose, and that is to get the highest possible price for the sellers. As such, their concerns are not your concerns. In fact, as your interest is chiefly to buy property for as little as possible, their interests can run contradictory to yours. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying auctioneers are bad guys, just that you need to do what is necessary to prepare yourself to represent your own best interests and not rely on the auctioneers to do it for you.
So what are the steps one needs to take before attending and attempting to buy property at auction?
If you were a child growing up in the south anywhere near creeks, streams, or backwaters you probably encountered these strange looking water creatures that were reminiscent of minature lobsters. We called them Crawdads, but any of the names above are common. Actually this species is a form of freshwater crustacean in the same family as the lobster. Their only obvious distinction is their diminutive size. Their size is anywhere from the size of a matchhead to about 5 inches long. The Crawfish above is a full 5 inches.
Georgia has 68 different species of Crawfish, some of which are endangered or threatened. The species of Crawfish that we see most often on the dinner plate is the Red Swamp Crayfish ( Procambarus clarkii ). I believe that is the species of the Crawfish pictured above. You can find a list of Georgia’s endangered Crawfish at http://www.gowildgeorgia.com/node/2621
As you might expect, as a youngster it never occurred to me that they were edible, nevermind tasty. If you came from Louisiana you probably recognized them as the delicacy they are. Indeed Crawfish is a staple in Louisiana and as Cajun cuisine is becoming more popular so is the lowly crawfish. Typically cooked in a crawfish boil, the crustaceans are first purged, then cooked with spices, and other vegetables and served still in the shell. An experienced crawfish afficianado will quickly break off the head and can be heard “sucking the crawfish head.” While it sounds somewhat unappetizing the practice actually extract one of the best parts of the crawfish. The other edible parts are in the tail and in the claws.
Want to try cooking them yourself at home: try these folks www.crawfish.com
Crawfish can be trapped in the wild but in actuality most crawfish for consumption come from commericial crawfish farms. Domestically the majority come from Louisiana, but in recent years China has imported increasing numbers of Crawfish into the United States.