Buying land in central FL

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moneywise3
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Buying land in central FL

Post by moneywise3 »

We've been approached by a broker agency that they are selling a few pristine lots few acres in size each. They have only a dozen or so lots available. Some face water some are totally wooded. It's a first time sale of that land, meaning it was privately owned and undeveloped forever. They are priced just under hundred grand. RE market has been super hot in CFL lately. My goal in buying is dual - either build our dream house or use it as investment- not sure at this time.

1. What are the things to be careful about?
2. What could land me in a situation where the land is unbuildable or an expense to carry forever?
3. Could the broker company defraud us in some way?
bubbadog
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by bubbadog »

Generally speaking, I believe that if you are "approached" by someone to make an investment/purchase, it is usually a good deal for them and a bad deal for you. The best investments you have to seek out for yourself.
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Alexa9
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Alexa9 »

I would have a real estate agent and lawyer look at it. There are a variety of things that could make it undesirable. The price is also negotiable based on what you think could be wrong with it or you may want to pass on it. Look for other similar sales in the area.
Beehave
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Beehave »

Have you checked out:
- availability of utilities/water/sewage/telephone
- existence of roads
- easements and access involving the lots and neighborhood
- mineral rights
- building and zoning plans in the area and your specific neighborhood/lot
- sinkholes
- tendency to flood (FEMA rating)
- prior history of the "pristine" land (was it ever a landfill?)
- availability of shopping
- availability of cultural facilities meaningful to you in the area
- police/fire/sanitation/emergency services?
- schools

These would be worthwhile looking into carefully
Silk McCue
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Silk McCue »

Red Flags and warning bells are going off for me. I am a life long Florida resident and live in Orlando. Being approached to buy “pristine lots” “privately owned” and “undeveloped forever” could be used to describe a few million acres in Florida by anyone with a keyboard.

I’ve heard radio ads like this recently and those that here it know that it’s just hype.

Please be careful. If you don’t live here ... Run.

Cheers
Gill
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Gill »

Read the history of Cape Coral and Rotonda, both Florida areas heavily promoted in the 1950’s and still not fully developed. One of the main problems of both areas was availability of utilities as well as lots that weren’t buildable.

Also, where is this located? Central Florida has miles and miles of flat uninteresting ranch and citrus land near nothing where I wouldn’t build a house if the land was free.
Gill
Last edited by Gill on Sun May 13, 2018 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bob60014
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by bob60014 »

Sinkholes, swampland and zoning issues come to mind.
PoppyA
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by PoppyA »

Central Florida real estate is red hot? News to me and I live there....
md&pharmacist
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by md&pharmacist »

You've been approached???

Turn around and run! They're likely selling the Brooklyn Bridge.

:annoyed
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MP123
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by MP123 »

Sounds like Oceanfront property in Arizona.

The fact that they're trying to sell it to you is a red flag. There's lots of ways they could defraud you or sell you unbuildable land. Not sure that's the case here but I'd be very careful.

Have you seen any compareble lots?
Silk McCue
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Silk McCue »

PoppyA wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:38 pm Central Florida real estate is red hot? News to me and I live there....
+1 - Ain’t that the truth.

Cheers
drk
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by drk »

Have you ever seen Glengarry Glen Ross?
bob60014
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by bob60014 »

drk wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 7:03 pm Have you ever seen Glengarry Glen Ross?
"Put that coffee down!! ..................Coffee's for closers only."
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Pajamas
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Pajamas »

moneywise3 wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:01 pm My goal in buying is dual - either build our dream house or use it as investment- not sure at this time.
No one seems to have mentioned some more basic issues:

Why would you buy land if you don't even know what you will do with it?

If you want to build your dream house, the location is just as important as the house. Since someone approached you to sell you this land, it's probably not in your dream location.

Land is only a good investment under certain circumstances. In this case, it would almost certainly not be a good investment for you, only for the broker and owner who are trying to sell it to you. (I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same person.)
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cheese_breath
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by cheese_breath »

moneywise3 wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:01 pm...Some face water...
Central FL facing the water? Just make sure that doesn't mean facing the water while looking up.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
Gill
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Gill »

cheese_breath wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 7:49 pm
moneywise3 wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:01 pm...Some face water...
Central FL facing the water? Just make sure that doesn't mean facing the water while looking up.
There are many beautiful lakes in Central Florida.
Gill
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JHU ALmuni
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by JHU ALmuni »

Run as fast as you can, don't even bother to think about it
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cheese_breath
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by cheese_breath »

bob60014 wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:35 pm Sinkholes, swampland and zoning issues come to mind.
alligators?
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
md&pharmacist
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by md&pharmacist »

They have only a dozen or so lots available means they are trying to pressure you into a quick decision, There are hundreds of thousands of acres in Florida with lots for sale.
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Rob5TCP
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Rob5TCP »

I bought a small condo for my Mother years ago in Central Florida (Lake Placid).
Yes, the past few years r.e. values have gone up rapidly. But, the prior years
they were tanking. We are back to where we were years ago. I am not selling
(renting it out now) so it doesn't really affect me.

My place is a few blocks off the main thoroughfare (Route 27).
Five-seven years ago would have been a great time to pickup some
land and/or homes at a cheap price. But, you would have had to wait
awhile before the values went up.

PS There is TONS of undeveloped land all around the town.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

cheese_breath wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 7:54 pm
alligators?
Absolutely!

My family went on an airboat tour and the striking thing to this New Englander was the lack of houses around the lake. We then saw a bunch of alligators in the middle of the lake, in the reeds, on the shore, on one of the lawns of one of the few houses. Ain't no joke.

My grandparents bought a few adjoining lots in Central Florida back in the 70's. The development was built out. When they passed, my dad and siblings looked into the value of these lots. Eventually, I believe they sold them to the HOA for $1.
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Swimmer
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Swimmer »

I live in Central Florida. I love it. One important caution: be sure you are able to purchase sinkhole insurance. Some insurance companies will not write it.
caffeinefree
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by caffeinefree »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 8:22 pm
cheese_breath wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 7:54 pm
alligators?
Absolutely!

My family went on an airboat tour and the striking thing to this New Englander was the lack of houses around the lake. We then saw a bunch of alligators in the middle of the lake, in the reeds, on the shore, on one of the lawns of one of the few houses. Ain't no joke.
The idea of anyone not purchasing land in FL because of alligators is silly. Any land you purchase anywhere in FL has the potential for alligators. If you have a ditch, retention pond, lake, canal, in-ground pool, above-ground pool, or even a large puddle on or near your property, there will probably be alligators. But like most wild animals, if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. Just make sure you keep your dogs (and small children) on a leash and away from shallow water.
Hockey10
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Hockey10 »

I once bought a vacant lot in NC. It was probably the worst financial decision I ever made.

Do not buy vacant land unless you are planning on building on it within 6 months. Shortly after buying the NC lot, I started getting bills for water and sewer. :shock: This was never mentioned during the sales pitch and I was too dumb to ask about it in advance.
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gasdoc
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by gasdoc »

PoppyA wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:38 pm Central Florida real estate is red hot? News to me and I live there....
Only if you count 'The Villages" retirement area....

gasdoc
CurlyDave
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by CurlyDave »

There are places in Florida where at certain times of year the weather consists of insects.
Green Nut
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Green Nut »

Gill wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:32 pm Read the history of Cape Coral and Rotonda, both Florida areas heavily promoted in the 1950’s and still not fully developed. One of the main problems of both areas was availability of utilities as well as lots that weren’t buildable.

Also, where is this located? Central Florida has miles and miles of flat uninteresting ranch and citrus land near nothing where I wouldn’t build a house if the land was free.
Gill
Oh yeah! My in-laws bought a plot in Lehigh Acres on their honeymoon in 1950...now it's the "kids" problem. Probating will cost more than the land is worth.
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Pajamas
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Pajamas »

Green Nut wrote: Tue May 15, 2018 2:38 pm Oh yeah! My in-laws bought a plot in Lehigh Acres on their honeymoon in 1950...now it's the "kids" problem. Probating will cost more than the land is worth.
Interesting article on Lehigh Acres along with some links to other good articles about it:

A SUBURBAN POVERTY BOOMTOWN: LEHIGH ACRES, FLORIDA

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... es-florida
CurlyDave wrote: Tue May 15, 2018 9:53 am There are places in Florida where at certain times of year the weather consists of insects.
And lots of rain! Central Florida only gets about 50 in. a year instead of the 60+ in. on the coasts.
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DanMahowny
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by DanMahowny »

OP,

Have you ever seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross ???

Don't know if it will impact your decision to buy, or not buy, but at least it's a damn good movie.
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Gill
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Gill »

Green Nut wrote: Tue May 15, 2018 2:38 pm
Gill wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:32 pm Read the history of Cape Coral and Rotonda, both Florida areas heavily promoted in the 1950’s and still not fully developed. One of the main problems of both areas was availability of utilities as well as lots that weren’t buildable.

Also, where is this located? Central Florida has miles and miles of flat uninteresting ranch and citrus land near nothing where I wouldn’t build a house if the land was free.
Gill
Oh yeah! My in-laws bought a plot in Lehigh Acres on their honeymoon in 1950...now it's the "kids" problem. Probating will cost more than the land is worth.
Thanks for the reminder! I forgot to include Lehigh Acres. Another large tract of ranch and swamp land sold to unsuspecting Northerners.
Gill
Cost basis is redundant. One has a basis in an investment | One advises and gives advice | One should follow the principle of investing one's principal
TravelGeek
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by TravelGeek »

Didn’t I see an episode of American Greed about Florida real estate scams just a few weeks ago?

OP, how did the broker select you for this deal?

Edit: yup... https://www.cnbc.com/2013/10/03/from-ru ... -lies.html
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Pajamas
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Pajamas »

TravelGeek wrote: Tue May 15, 2018 4:39 pm Didn’t I see an episode of American Greed about Florida real estate scams just a few weeks ago?

OP, how did the broker select you for this deal?

Edit: yup... https://www.cnbc.com/2013/10/03/from-ru ... -lies.html
I like the ominous tone of the one-minute trailer!

"He had very expensive watches. I think his watches were probably sixty, seventy thousand." :shock:
mikebee
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by mikebee »

Look up Gulf American Land Corporation founded in the 1960s by Leonard and Jack Rosen. They sold thousands of subdivisions of worthless swamp land in Collier County near Naples using TV adverts.
Before this scam they sold hair restorer made from sheep wool oil and when challenged answered "well you don't see many bald sheep" !
goodyear35
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by goodyear35 »

PoppyA wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:38 pm Central Florida real estate is red hot? News to me and I live there....
Depends on location. Example, Winter Park FL, tear down houses on .25 acre lots start at $500-600K and sell immediately.
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Index Fan
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Index Fan »

bubbadog wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:06 pm Generally speaking, I believe that if you are "approached" by someone to make an investment/purchase, it is usually a good deal for them and a bad deal for you. The best investments you have to seek out for yourself.
^ this. ^
"Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis." | -Seneca
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tennisplyr
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by tennisplyr »

Why not pick an area that has appeal to you rather than fall for a sales pitch from a stranger....be careful.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.
WillieB
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by WillieB »

Lots and land are very easy to buy and usually very difficult to sell.

Central Florida (rural locations) real estate is busy but not nearly as hot as other parts of Florida, and it may never be. And..it started the upswing much later than more popular locations.

We are long past the beginning of this current boom/bust cycle. Bargain is a relative term but good buys are mostly gone at this point, IMHO.

I would wait three or four years and see what happens. A bust is inevitable...when?..nobody knows.

Buy low, sell high. We are closer to high than low in most locations.
Valuethinker
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Valuethinker »

moneywise3 wrote: Sun May 13, 2018 6:01 pm We've been approached by a broker agency that they are selling a few pristine lots few acres in size each. They have only a dozen or so lots available. Some face water some are totally wooded. It's a first time sale of that land, meaning it was privately owned and undeveloped forever. They are priced just under hundred grand. RE market has been super hot in CFL lately. My goal in buying is dual - either build our dream house or use it as investment- not sure at this time.

1. What are the things to be careful about?
2. What could land me in a situation where the land is unbuildable or an expense to carry forever?
3. Could the broker company defraud us in some way?
"In poker, if in 5 minutes you cannot figure out who the mug is, you are the mug".

That's what this feels like. Florida has a distinguished history, dating back to the 1800s I believe, of selling promising "development" land to unwary outsiders. That never turns out to be worth what they paid for it.

I could be wrong about this, but I believe at the peak of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, lots were sold for prices that, in inflation adjusted terms, they did not reach again until the 1960s or even 70s-- that's right, doing worse than inflation for 50+ years. And underperforming the stock market by something like 10x if not 20x.

If this is such good land the agent, the agent's friends & business contacts, or a professional developer would be buying it.

And I'd live in Central Florida for a year before buying there-- see if you can stand the monotony of the landscape, the climate and the insects. Especially the insects.
Valuethinker
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Valuethinker »

CurlyDave wrote: Tue May 15, 2018 9:53 am There are places in Florida where at certain times of year the weather consists of insects.
This!

Never underestimate the power and persistence of the American mosquito!

http://www.mosquito.org/page/mosquitoinfo
There are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world; currently 176 species are recognized in the United States. A new species, Anopheles grabhamii, was reported from the Florida Keys in 2001 (Darsie et al. 2002). Each mosquito species has a Latin scientific name, such as Anopheles quadrimaculatus. Anophelesis the "generic" name of a group of closely related mosquitoes and quadrimaculatus is the "species" name that represents a group of individuals that are similar in structure and physiology and capable of interbreeding. These names are used in a descriptive manner so that the name tells something about each particular mosquito, for example, Anopheles - Greek meaning hurtful or prejudicial and quadrimaculatus - Latin meaning four spots (4 dark spots on the wings). Some species have what are called "common names" as well as scientific names, such as Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus, the "black salt marsh mosquito."
I believe they have found fossilized mosquitos that tormented the dinosaurs?

They will be on this planet as long as it has higher order animals to torment. (I think Florida was once malarial, too? It could be so again, with the drug and insecticide resistant strains of malaria and mosquito that are now emerging).
MikeZ
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by MikeZ »

Remember there is a HUGH difference between land and build-able land!

Most of the costs of making lank build-able include roads, utilities, etc. If there is no sewer and the geology does not allow for a septic,you are looking at something close to worthless. If there is no road up to the property, forget about it!

Don't forget zoning! Some zoning (e.g., recreational) does not even allow any buildings. See 'Suburban Estates' east of Orlando where you can get an acre of swap land basically for the amount of backed property taxes. That actually seems to set the price floor for these lots---the lots the county reprocessed and are trying to sell for the tax account balance--no one is bidding at the auctions for them.

I think the way things are going now, if there is good land to be bought it's getting bought by spec builders who can build for less per sq. ft. than existing housing stock is going for.

I should again remind you that you will have to pay property taxes and maybe HOA fees on the property regardless of whether you live there or no anything with the property.
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moneywise3
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by moneywise3 »

Thanks for the responses. Here's the link. Would like your inputs. They mailed out flyers.

http://woodlandhillsfl.com
bubbadog
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by bubbadog »

I looked at the flyer.

Strongly recommend you pass on this "once in a lifetime opportunity" because it is most assuredly not. At least not for you, the buyer.

You will be much better off with an "everyday opportunity" such as VG total stock market index or VG SP500 index.

Good luck with your decision
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Pajamas
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Pajamas »

moneywise3 wrote: Thu May 17, 2018 11:15 am Thanks for the responses. Here's the link. Would like your inputs. They mailed out flyers.

http://woodlandhillsfl.com
"Once in a Lifetime Opportunity", hilarious. "Public Not Invited"--unless you call first to find out where it is.

There is a huge amount of land in 3+ acre lots available 30-45 minutes from Orlando near the turnpike and small lakes are everywhere, more of a problem than a feature. They're putting so much money into marketing that it must be overpriced.

If you want to buy land, decide where you want to buy and then look in that area to see what is available. Make sure that any land you buy is already approved for building including utility access or septic field approval because protected wetlands are all over the place. You may also have to use satellite television and internet and cellular service may be spotty, although I don't know anything about it in that area, personally.
Silk McCue
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Silk McCue »

These are small ponds/lakes and and may be only a few feet deep. Certainly not someplace you would run a boat in to fish. These pictures may have been taken at a time when the water is high and may be this way right now. At other times they drop way down and not look nearly as nice. The lakes you see elsewhere in their presentation are the Harris Chain of lakes that are "just minutes away". So what, we have tons of large lakes for recreation and fishing that be reached by anyone. Most of the comments already posted stand true, at least you aren't out in the total boondocks. Unless you live here and know the market it would likely be a serious mistake to pursue this. I am a local.


Cheers

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TravelGeek
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by TravelGeek »

Silk McCue wrote: Thu May 17, 2018 11:41 am These are small ponds/lakes and and may be only a few feet deep. Certainly not someplace you would run a boat in to fish.
But sufficient for skeeters and gators, right? ;)

Where are the hills? Looks pretty flat to me.
Silk McCue
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by Silk McCue »

TravelGeek wrote: Thu May 17, 2018 2:30 pm
Silk McCue wrote: Thu May 17, 2018 11:41 am These are small ponds/lakes and and may be only a few feet deep. Certainly not someplace you would run a boat in to fish.
But sufficient for skeeters and gators, right? ;)

Where are the hills? Looks pretty flat to me.
Absolutely sufficient skeeters, gators and moccasins.

There actually is a bit of rolling land out there. 312 ft above sea level. Woohoo!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarlo ... _(Florida)

Cheers
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moneywise3
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by moneywise3 »

Thank you for the responses. Here's further info from the broker/seller. Perhaps some Central FL residents can guide further.

*35 minutes from Orlando
*Starting at $59,900
*Lake County
*Paved Roads
*NO FEES
*100% guaranteed usable
*Equestrian Friendly
*Kayaking
*Mature Hardwoods and Beautiful Majestic Oaks
*Abundance of Wildlife
*Gorgeous Sunsets from your Back Yard
*Chose your Builder
*No Time Limit to Build
*Just minutes from Shopping and golfing
fourwaystreet
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by fourwaystreet »

35 minutes to Orlando could be two miles away.....the traffic is terrible.

I have to ask, how did you become the lucky one approached?
When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.
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munemaker
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by munemaker »

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moneywise3
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Re: Buying land in central FL

Post by moneywise3 »

fourwaystreet wrote: Thu May 17, 2018 10:47 pm 35 minutes to Orlando could be two miles away.....the traffic is terrible.

I have to ask, how did you become the lucky one approached?
Got flyer in the mail. Its 1.5 hrs to the airport.
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