Author Topic: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas  (Read 2491 times)

mozar

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WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« on: January 26, 2021, 08:45:11 AM »
My dad inherited a small plot of land in Orange, Texas. It used to have a house on it but it was torn down. It's just a regular suburban plot. But it's in a flood prone area. My dad is paying $800 in taxes every year. What would you do with it? Should I encourage my dad to find a realtor and sell it? We live in the North East, USA.

Adventine

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2021, 09:14:56 AM »
Can you tell us more about your dad's financial situation, priorities and goals? Decisions like this can't be made in a vacuum.

Watchmaker

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2021, 09:32:52 AM »
Well, if he doesn't live in Orange and doesn't want to live in Orange, I'd say selling it is probably the right choice.

If he had inherited $50k (or whatever the lot is worth) instead, would he buy a lot in Orange with the money?

mozar

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 09:50:07 AM »
Quote
Can you tell us more about your dad's financial situation, priorities and goals? Decisions like this can't be made in a vacuum.

My dad doesn't have much in savings. He likely can't afford a realtor right now. I doubt it's worth 50k. It might only be worth the cost of the realtor fee. I doubt he has the bandwidth to find an appraiser.

Is there anything I could do over the next 5-10 years to improve the value of the land? Plant some trees?

Edit: the appraisal value is $2,450
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 09:55:59 AM by mozar »

RWD

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2021, 10:20:09 AM »
$800 in taxes on a lot worth $2,450! If he keeps it more than 3 years it will be a net loss. Sure, you could plant some trees but that seems very unlikely to make up for the tax cost. I would dump it. I also inherited land that was nearly 3,000 miles away and worth a similar amount of money. I sold it to someone that owned adjacent land.

solon

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2021, 10:22:57 AM »
I think the easiest thing is just to stop paying the taxes. In three years the county will take the lot away, and Dad won't have spent a penny. (He won't make anything either, but it sounds like that's pretty unlikely anyway.)

Paper Chaser

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2021, 10:28:53 AM »
Quote
Can you tell us more about your dad's financial situation, priorities and goals? Decisions like this can't be made in a vacuum.

My dad doesn't have much in savings. He likely can't afford a realtor right now. I doubt it's worth 50k. It might only be worth the cost of the realtor fee. I doubt he has the bandwidth to find an appraiser.

Is there anything I could do over the next 5-10 years to improve the value of the land? Plant some trees?

Edit: the appraisal value is $2,450

Definitely sell it. It just comes down to maximizing the return with the least amount of cash invested. Something seems 'off' about the numbers here to me.

Is the $2450 an actual appraisal, or is it the "tax assessed value"? Zillow shows some small, empty lots in that area with asking prices about double the assessed value(not lots in new subdivisions). And if the lot your father owns still has utility connections it may be worth a bit more.

Also, do you know why your dad is paying $800/yr in taxes on a property with a value of $2450? Other lots seem to be taxed @ about 2.8% of the assessed value. If that's a consistent rate for the area, the lot should either be taxed around $60/yr, or the assessed value should be more like $28k

Frankies Girl

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2021, 10:50:26 AM »
This is not worth $800/year in property taxes for a plot assessed at $2500... to someone struggling to save anything and has no use for it if they never plan to live there or know much about it in general especially.

Orange is very close to the coast in east Texas, east of Beaumont right off the I10 highway (major freeway that runs through San Antonio, Houston into New Orleans) and right before the Louisiana border. It is a really small town and flooding/hurricanes have really done a number on it in the last decade so I there's a low appeal to live there if you could live anyplace else. If it's in the 500 year flood plain (and every single listing I looked at was) then it floods, period and this close to the coast means hurricane scares every single time they develop in the gulf. There's lots of plots of land for sale in the listings, with a few realtors representing the area, but to me it looks pretty stagnant and not valuable at all.

And a BIG no I would not attempt to plant anything on it - new trees in the Texas gulf coast require LOTS of care to get established (you know anyone there that is interested in planting/staking, then watering twice weekly for a few months?) and why throw good money after bad? The only way this could be improved upon is if the town itself has some major attraction or you can somehow change the weather events so it never floods/storms there. It's a cute historical town, but nothing particularly interesting for tourists, and there's no industry/business I know off the top of my head (not that I'm an expert, but I live in TX) that is enough of an attractant that would be able to overcome the hurricane/flooding issues. The only people that live there are the ones that likely were born there and love it, or work specifically for local businesses, and/or can't afford anything else.

Did you look at the neighborhood's recent sales? Check the overall town's listings/sales for the last year? You can get a general idea of the viability of selling it based on that at least. If the neighborhood is selling okay, then it may be worth contacting a local realtor to see if they could offload it for anything decent.

If there is truly no interest in retaining the property for whatever reason, and it does not appear to be an area with lots of interest (sales), I myself would look at the immediate neighbors and consider contacting them about whether they are interested in buying the plot for a few hundred or at least make it MUCH less than the property was assessed for - he could possibly take a loss on the sale for the purposes of taxes and offload this easier and without involving a real estate broker (mind you, I don't know the first thing about the rules/ways of selling real estate so you'd need to do the footwork on this in terms of title transfers and such). Many people like the idea of buying adjacent plots so they can control who lives/builds next to them.

He could also consider gifting the plot to the town. You'd need to contact them to find out how to do this, but from what I've read, most of the time it's get a general appraisal (could possibly use the tax assessment) and fill out the right forms and submit to the township. It may be possible to get a partial write-off for the donation on taxes (but another note about how I am NOT an expert so would need to consult a professional).


« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 08:11:07 PM by Frankies Girl »

mozar

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2021, 11:19:50 AM »
Quote
Is the $2450 an actual appraisal, or is it the "tax assessed value"? Zillow shows some small, empty lots in that area with asking prices about double the assessed value(not lots in new subdivisions). And if the lot your father owns still has utility connections it may be worth a bit more.

"Notice of Appraised Value"

Quote
Did you look at the neighborhood's recent sales?
I'm having a hard time figuring out what neighborhood it's in. When I enter it in google search I get an address in Orange. When I go through the Orange County appraisal district website I get an address in Little Cypress, Texas, an even smaller town north of Orange.
So just trying to figure out where this property is, is an ordeal. But I'm seeing houses in the 100k range in Little Cypress.
Any tips on how I can reconcile this from far away?
Thank you for all the responses.

Frankies Girl

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2021, 11:50:27 AM »
https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Orange_TX/overview

Check the MAP overview and you can find the area the plot is located and then look at the neighborhood and sort of expand out from there.

Little Cypress is the name of the neighborhood IN the city/town of Orange. Planned communities and basic neighborhoods often have names down here. They do in other states too, but it may not be as prevalent? I grew up in a different state completely and didn't find out my former childhood home had an actual neighborhood name/designation until we sold it.

Can also put in the zip code of the property or Orange, Tx and search for the same street or look for a house in the general area that is for sale. Realtor.com does try to give you the neighborhood information if it has been coded correctly.

It looks like Little Cypress is a north of I-10 and just bit north of FM (stands for Farm Road) 3247, centered around SH87. There are a few houses for sale in the area:

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/11-Finwick-Dr_Orange_TX_77632_M89786-58853

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/39-Stradford-Dr_Orange_TX_77632_M75122-60280

If the empty lot is near these two, then not too shabby and being on the north side, a bit better in terms of flooding (2/10 is pretty decent for the gulf coast). I'd say that's likely why the tax is assessed higher? Texas property taxes are ridiculous (no state tax so prop taxes are much much higher).

Here's a vacant lot in the older section that isn't up for sale but may be a reasonable comparison:
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2890-Lawn-Oak-Dr-Orange-TX-77632/98966921_zpid/

You can input the actual address into places like zillow and realtor.com and pull up assessments, value (proposed anyway) and then look further out from there.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 12:09:27 PM by Frankies Girl »

mozar

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2021, 12:02:16 PM »
Thankyou @Frankies Girl

Frankies Girl

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2021, 12:10:57 PM »
Thankyou @Frankies Girl

I was actively modifying my post above, so double check if anything else looks usable. I've been on a real estate searching kick/valuation for my own idle looking for a few years off and on and have worked out a few things, but I am absolutely not an expert in any of this stuff. ;)

AMandM

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2021, 04:08:10 PM »
Maybe the property taxes are based on the value of the property when it had a house on it, and you need to ask for a re-assessment based on  its new status as empty?

Sibley

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2021, 07:13:37 PM »
Sounds like the land isn't wanted. So, figure out the best way to get rid of it. Either via selling, gifting it to the town/county, not paying the taxes and letting it be sold for taxes or revert to the town.

Adventine

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2021, 07:54:07 PM »
Since neither owning nor developing the land seems like a high priority, then yes, selling the land or simply stopping the tax payments seems like the best course of action.

norajean

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2021, 08:49:48 PM »
Unless one is an active local real estate speculator and developer, Never hold onto raw land with dreams of one day selling or developing.

yachi

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2021, 11:44:15 AM »
@mozar:
I suggest this site:
https://www.orangecad.net/interactive-map/
search by your dad's name.  When you find the property, copy the GEO ID.  It looks like this: 00000x-0xxxxx
While you're there, you can click on adjacent properties and get owner names and contact information.
Go back here: https://esearch.orangecad.net/
and search by the ID you copied.  Click on the property result, and you'll get a page with total appraised value, and the individual appraised values for land and buildings.  You want to make sure the County isn't still counting a house that's no longer there.

yachi

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2021, 12:03:42 PM »
A few more things.  The https://esearch.orangecad.net/ website has a link for "online protest". You could use this link to protest the assessment if it includes a house that's no longer there.  As evidence you could submit google streetview pictures.

I don't think it helps in this case because it sounds like the inheritance was accepted some time ago, but for others just getting into a similar situation: you are not required to accept an inheritance, you can disclaim all or part of an inheritance, and it will instead go to the next person in line. 

mozar

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2021, 04:43:21 PM »
Quote
I don't think it helps in this case because it sounds like the inheritance was accepted some time ago, but for others just getting into a similar situation: you are not required to accept an inheritance, you can disclaim all or part of an inheritance, and it will instead go to the next person in line.

This is helpful for me because in case my dad does nothing in his lifetime, I can disclaim the inheritance when he passes.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: WWYD? Empty suburban land plot in Orange Texas
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2021, 02:12:01 PM »
Planting trees is not going to raise the property value.  This is basically the swamp.

Taxes should be <= 3% of the assessed value.  Either the assed value is over $20k, or the taxes are based on the land + the former home.  The orangecad site  linked above should be able to tell you what the assessments are and if it includes the (non-nonexistent) house or not.

I grew up in that region, and it is not a thriving metropolis.  There have been too many floods in the last decade, and it's taken a huge toll on the area.

I like the idea of offering it to a neighbor at a discounted price.  If the deal is arranged privately, you could contact a title company to do the paperwork, or find a realtor and offer them a flat fee to take care of the paperwork for the sale. 

If none of the neighbors want it, best to see if a realtor will take it on to try to sell it.