The Unreachable Property: Part 1

First Rate Field Services received a property into its inventory for services and soon found out that it was quite a unique property. After completing our research, we were able to put together this report regarding the access issues at the property.

The Bridge

Upon our field representatives first visit to the property, we realized that the asset was located adjacent to a 35-foot wide county drain and is only accessible by a bridge. There was a bridge present, but it was in severe disrepair.

After further inspection, the bridge was found unstable, and the supports below were rusting away. The bridge was stable enough to walk across, but in no way safe to cross with any vehicle or equipment, so after receiving this information back from the field, we began to asses how we would be able to access the home safely. We decided to reach out to the county to learn its requirements or recommendations for repair/replacement of the bridge. We found that the drain was governed by the County Drain Office and a county official informed us that any repair or replacement of the bridge would require the county’s involvement throughout the process. He recommended a few company’s that they had previously worked with before on similar projects. The bridge contractor has visited the property and confirmed that the bridge is not repairable and will, in fact, need to be replaced. We are still waiting to receive the final estimate, but the preliminary facts are. A. The job cannot be scheduled for completion till next year, and B. it will cost a minimum of $40,000.

The Lot

There is a 100-acre farming lot adjacent to the drain, and the subject properties two-acre lot is surrounded by this farming lot. We accessed county records and were able to determine that the farming lot was owned by a *Mr. Smith. Years earlier Mr. Smith also owned the subject lot but eventually sold it.

We were able to locate the current address of Mr. Smith via county records and dispatched a representative to deliver a letter. The letter outlined a request for us to gain access to the subject property via his land on the other side of the drain. This would require us to cross the nearest road bridge and drive along the drain to reach our property. Mr. Smith received my letter and reached out to me to discuss. We discussed that the gap between the drain and the cornfield is used to grow alfalfa and that he has not yet harvested the crop, so the option to access via his land would need to wait until after harvest season. Even then, he seemed apprehensive about allowing us to use his land as an access point but would consider. I told him I would reach back out when needed. (*The name of the former owner was hidden for privacy reasons.)

The House

During all of our research, I was able to find out that the home does not have a gas tank as it was removed. The property does not contain a well as it is not allowed by the county but instead contains six large water tanks that are filled for use. I discovered that a water tanker truck at one point crossed the bridge causing damage that made the bridge no longer safe for crossing. The house itself is not in great condition and starting to deteriorate. It will take a substantial amount of money to bring it into sale condition. There is also a large collapsing outbuilding on the property, and the landscaping has not been maintained.

Conclusion

After a full review, we developed three options:

Option 1:

Wait for the bridge to be installed which will take close to a year. By the time it is installed, the property will have deteriorated even further and attempts to put the property in a marketing condition would require substantial funds, not including the $40,000 bridge.

Option 2:

Reach back out to Mr. Smith and try to work out access via his property in the fall. This would allow us to perform initial services on the property but would just become unserviceable again in the spring when the crops are planted. However, the property would still need a bridge.

Option 3:

In speaking with Mr. Smith, he did mention the possibility of purchasing the lot. However, he puts no value in the home. He would possibly buy the land for what its worth minus the cost to demolish the home and outbuilding. This was discussed casually, and I do not know the full extent of his interest. This option will be up to the Asset Manager and Mr. Smith to discuss further.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…