Re: Property Search
From: Bruce Shimizu (
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 15:22:58 -0800 (PST)
Realtors are a good source, but they will generally only know about
properties currently on the market. If you do use a realtor, look for one
that specializes in rural/ag property. Talk to realtors that you have some
sort of relationship and they will know who to refer you to. Realtors that
have been in an area for a long time will likely know parcels that may not
be on the market, but could be for sale to the "right buyer."  They know who
owns what land and who just bought or sold. 

Other sources that I've used include civil engineers, land surveyors, &
title companies. Planning Departments may also be of some help. I have been
referred to property owners that have decided not to develop their
properties and may be looking to sell out.

I've also made cold calls (actually sent letters first, then followed up
with calls) to property owners. I've taken city/county zoning maps & looked
for appropriately designated lots,  used aerial photos (Google is great)to
see if the site is vacant or largely undeveloped. Figure out the address or
at least the street & approximate location and find out the assessor's
parcel number. Then you can find out who the owner is. Your local title
company should be able to help you out. You may be able to obtain access to
their on-line property search services (very handy). 

If title is not helpful, the County Recorder's Office, Planning Department,
or similar repository of parcel information will have to do. NOTE: some
cities/counties have geographic information systems (GIS) for their
jurisdiction and often have parcel information available on-line (very

Good luck and good hunting,

Bruce K. Shimizu
bruce [at]  

-----Original Message-----
From: tom shea [mailto:sheamuson [at]] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 1:02 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ Property Search

Can anyone out there provide me with some insight regarding how you
conducted a property search for a suitable cohousing site?  Did you use real
estate agents, knock on doors, throw darts at a map?  I have some ideas but
wish to hear from some folks that have actually done this before.  We have
developed a general site criteria and geographic areas of interest, now how
do we apply that information during a site search?  We are looking for rural
agricultural property.
Thank you
Tom Shea
Green Haven (to be built in VT)

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