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Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions

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Offline NapoleanC4

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Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« on: September 15, 2018, 10:16:28 PM »
Hello all,
My best friend and I are looking at buying 40+ acres tract in Terlingua ranch.

It looks like from what I read on POATRI website that if there are multiple land owners then each owner has to pay the $175 yearly assessment for road maintenance.

The biggest question I have is how does building dwellings, houses, storage sheds, or shade roofs affect overall property taxes in Terlingua ranch area?
I'm trying to stick to around <$200/year property tax so interested in creative ways to build without increasing taxes.

It seems like if you pour concrete foundations that would definitely increase taxes more than just a wood base,
and placing shipping containers on blocks are movable so probably no tax increase?

Do most folks make their own roads and driveways T'ing off POATRI maintained dirt roads using crushed gravel?

We both live in Indiana full time, and live 1200 miles from Terlingua,TX so this would be more of a vacation spot for us to go 2-3 weeks a year, not a full time residence.
Also interested in hunting and building a 750 to 1000 yard long shooting range for .308 long guns, so thinking 20 acres probably wouldn't be enough land.

Would really appreciate any resources you could point me to for Off grid building Newbies to this area.

Thanks much in advance.
Scott


 

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Offline presidio

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Re: Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 11:42:03 PM »
My best friend and I are looking at buying 40+ acres tract in Terlingua ranch.

See below.*

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It looks like from what I read on POATRI website that if there are multiple land owners then each owner has to pay the $175 yearly assessment for road maintenance.

Correct.

Quote
The biggest question I have is how does building dwellings, houses, storage sheds, or shade roofs affect overall property taxes in Terlingua ranch area?
I'm trying to stick to around <$200/year property tax so interested in creative ways to build without increasing taxes.

It seems like if you pour concrete foundations that would definitely increase taxes more than just a wood base,
and placing shipping containers on blocks are movable so probably no tax increase?

This forum is a good place to get general answers regarding the tourist aspects of the area. It is a terrible place to get advice on life, taxes, and other non-recreational questions such as you pose. This is because very few here have any idea as they merely also are visitors who have little more experience than you do. Even the tiny number that may actually own property or live in the region have little to go on other than their specific situation. The data set is too small to be useful or representative of trends. It's safe to say that there is variability in appraisals and application of standards depending upon when things are done and by whom. It happens everywhere.

That said, you will be much better served by directly contacting the Brewster County Assessor  (or county appraiser) and inquiring there. They will have facts. Here, you get opinion. I'd suggest facts are more important and useful.

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Do most folks make their own roads and driveways T'ing off POATRI maintained dirt roads using crushed gravel?

It's the desert. You clear the lechuguilla and sharp rocks and generally you are good to go. The ground is hard, unless it rains and then you find out whether you have limestone or clay as a base. If you really are unlucky, you get bentonite clay.  It doesn't rain much but when it does, it can be torrential, but things dry out fast and are not all that much of a problem (unless you happen to intersect in time and space with a flash flood.

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We both live in Indiana full time, and live 1200 miles from Terlingua,TX so this would be more of a vacation spot for us to go 2-3 weeks a year, not a full time residence.
Also interested in hunting and building a 750 to 1000 yard long shooting range for .308 long guns, so thinking 20 acres probably wouldn't be enough land.

Would really appreciate any resources you could point me to for Off grid building Newbies to this area.

There are at least a couple of Yahoo groups focusing on the Terlingua area. Those would be the best places to hear from the actual residents and learn about services and contractors in the area.

*Even though you are not looking at permanent residence, if you have not previously been to the area (or only have the short-term tourist view) it is imperative that you personally visit and spend some time beyond the cursory glance that most tourists get (and from whence they develop romantic visions of self-sufficiency, adaptability and desirability). The reality is far different. If you buy without doing so, the potential for dissatisfaction is very high.

You will find that building a shooting range is a lot easier than hunting. EVERYTHING out there is privately owned. You are not going to successfully hunt on 40 acres, or even 100. Trespassing is greatly frowned upon, even though the land mostly is unfenced and appears unused. If you talk to the Terlingua Ranch administration, be wary of what they say. Their business interests do not always align with those of property owners and they encourage activities beyond their purview (which, by court decree concerns ONLY road maintenance...they cannot authorize anyone to do anything else without property owner consent).

Lastly, keep in mind you will be buying scenery and recreation, not valuable real estate. The land is WAY overpriced as a result. It may not seem all that expensive, but you will be paying $300 and up for an acre worth only maybe $75 of real fair-market value. You get no mineral or water rights (though you can drill a well for a LOT of cash, and rainwater catchment is the economical alternative). None of these are reasons to not buy, you just need to fully understand what you are getting into.
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Offline NapoleanC4

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Re: Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 07:03:02 AM »
Great info. Thanks I will check with Brewster County Assessor and look into the Yahoo groups as well.
My Buddy and I are planning on taking a vacation around Terlingua in an Air BNB so we can spend a week exploring the area and talking with different people about more specifics.
Thanks again.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 10:41:21 AM »
Great info. Thanks I will check with Brewster County Assessor and look into the Yahoo groups as well.
My Buddy and I are planning on taking a vacation around Terlingua in an Air BNB so we can spend a week exploring the area and talking with different people about more specifics.
Thanks again.

You're welcome.

I'd suggest talking to business owners who service the local economy, rather than the ones mostly servicing the recreational tourist venue. Places like the hardware store, bank, auto service, etc. These are the folks who make the place function.

If you have not already done so, spend some quality time at https://poatri.org/
There is a fair amount of good information and some of the legal issues documents also are posted there.

Go to the Terlingua Ranch HQ and have a chat with the staff about anything you want, keeping in mind the caveat about misaligned interests. The staff are residents/owners so you can get a relatively unvarnished view if you ask about their personal experiences. Be sure to qualify what you hear with respect to how long they've been permanently in the area and how long they've worked for TR.

TR has an associated site for the lodge function so you may also find it useful: https://terlinguaranch.com/

To maximize your time, stay out of the parks and focus on life there so you gain as much knowledge as possible. You can go to the parks after you've gotten a place, or later in the week if you perhaps find the idea of owning isn't as attractive as first believed.

It is desirable to drive a lot of the TR road system. The geography is highly varied and you will find some listings you may have looked at online lack the attractiveness/quality which may be implied in the ads. 4WD is not absolutely necessary, but highly preferred. High clearance is a must if you want to cover ground beyond the main roads.

Keep in mind the farther out you are means it will take longer for TR to fix things after a road-altering weather event. Also, remember the area is very isolated and costs of goods and services reflect that fact. There is no quick run to the convenience store, or anywhere else.
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 02:22:38 PM »
This forum is a good place to get general answers regarding the tourist aspects of the area. It is a terrible place to get advice on life, taxes, and other non-recreational questions such as you pose. This is because very few here have any idea as they merely also are visitors who have little more experience than you do.

Speak for yourself, Presidio.

We have many on here with experience of TR. I don't claim to be an expert, but to answer some of your questions, Napoleon....

It looks like from what I read on POATRI website that if there are multiple land owners then each owner has to pay the $175 yearly assessment for road maintenance.

No, my brother in law and I are both listed on our 60 acres. Only one fee between us.

The biggest question I have is how does building dwellings, houses, storage sheds, or shade roofs affect overall property taxes in Terlingua ranch area?
I'm trying to stick to around <$200/year property tax so interested in creative ways to build without increasing taxes.

A twenty acre, unimproved tract will run you $113 and some change every year based on 2017 taxes. It goes up about a dollar a year. Improvements may increase taxes, but only if they re-access your property. Even though the county came in last year and did some random assessments, most didn't see much of an increase, if any, due to the lack of man power to cover ground.

It seems like if you pour concrete foundations that would definitely increase taxes more than just a wood base,
and placing shipping containers on blocks are movable so probably no tax increase?

I have two shipping containers on my property welded to 4x4 steel and cemented into ground. If the county were to access my property, I would bet on a small increase.

Do most folks make their own roads and driveways T'ing off POATRI maintained dirt roads using crushed gravel?

The POATRI maintains the roads. If they need work, you simply call them and ask your road to be grated, holes filled etc. To a certain point. You can pay the dozer guy to do more work, if you need it. You'd have to negotiate with him on price.

Also interested in hunting and building a 750 to 1000 yard long shooting range for .308 long guns, so thinking 20 acres probably wouldn't be enough land.

Yes, you'll likely need a bit more, we have 60 acres and it's adequate for such things. Forty would likely be your best bet. Many tracts are approximately 4 acres wide and 5 acres long.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 03:35:26 PM »
This forum is a good place to get general answers regarding the tourist aspects of the area. It is a terrible place to get advice on life, taxes, and other non-recreational questions such as you pose. This is because very few here have any idea as they merely also are visitors who have little more experience than you do.

Speak for yourself, Presidio.

We have many on here with experience of TR. I don't claim to be an expert, but to answer some of your questions, Napoleon....

I did qualify my statement that few forum members are owners and most of what an inquirer will get here on such topics is opinion. The point I apparently did not sufficiently clarify is that decisions involving large sums of money and real estate should not be based on unqualified opinion.

If there are 'many' with TR experience (meaning ownership) that certainly has not been reflected in the various threads on this topic across many years. What is reflected is the burning desire of many to be owners of something, somewhere in the region.

If 'experience' includes merely driving around and dreaming, I would agree with the 'many' of your statement, but such experience provides no useful data. I've driven all over TR and I don't have any insights into appraisals, assessments or taxation as a result.

As I also noted you and others who do own property certainly can speak to your individual circumstances, but cannot provide specificity about how the county deals with property beyond your boundaries. Thus, my recommendation to go to the source rather than looking for answers on the forum.
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 04:29:16 PM »


The point I apparently did not sufficiently clarify is that decisions involving large sums of money and real estate should not be based on unqualified opinion.


Kind of goes without saying and applies to just about everything.  I tend to give people that benefit of the doubt. Let's not pretend to be the authority on all that is right and good.  We'll let him be a big boy and discriminate and disseminate on his own.



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Offline mr.bean5150

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Re: Looking to buy 40-60 acre Terlingua tract - questions
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2018, 06:29:07 AM »
I have land in NC and land in The Solitario. These areas are completely different in terrain, elevation and vegetation. The property in NC is right off the main Ranch road headquarters. Itís flat with sparse vegetation on sand and soft dirt. Itís close to power, phone and wells are about 200-400ft in that area. The Solitario property is about a 2hr drive in from the main rd. Itís 4000ft elevation with canyons and deer everywhere. This is a tent camping experience as building here would be very difficult and expensive. The 4x4 road out there is rough but a fantastic drive.
My point is you really need to shop by seeing the property first hand. The area varies a great deal and pictures and second hand accounts can in no way explain the experience. I would recommend someone like West Texas Realty or other local realtors that know the area real well. They will drive you out to the land which is also a challenge because finding your way around the Ranch roads is another experience al together.
Regardless what you do please remember this is still Big Bend isolated, remote and very dangerous. I would also suggest following some of the land owner groups on Facebook. Ask a lot of questions from the full time residents.


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