Dave Denniston cover

If you’re looking for inexpensive raw land you won’t want to miss this episode. Dave Denniston is a sort of raw land broker. he finds inexpensive land, makes sure it all checks out, finds out what can be done with it, and offers in-house financing. He explains the basics of raw land, gives us the scoop on some of his favorite tiny-home-friendly counties in US states, and lets us know which episodes of his own podcast will be most beneficial as you’re searching for that perfect plot.

In This Episode:

  • How (and why) they buy land to resell
  • What you need to know when you look for land
  • Who to talk to find out what’s allowed on a piece of property
  • Is land a good investment?
  • Tiny-friendly places that David loves
    • Mohave County, AZ
    • Cibola County, NM
    • Apache County, AZ
    • Park County, CO
    • St Louis County, MN
  • Land Stories podcast episodes you need to hear

Links and Resources:


Guest Bio:

Dave Denniston

Dave Denniston

Dave Denniston of Generation Family Properties is a passionate owner and seller of raw vacant rural land. He got into the business of buying and selling land due to the desire for a better life for his family and particularly, his youngest daughter Evangeline who was born less than a pound (12.4 ounces) in 2012. A few years ago he also started sharing his love of vacant land and do's and don'ts through his podcast, Land Stories.

Land Stories on iTunes

Land Stories on Google Play



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More Photos:

Legal and physical access are two different things

Creative solutions can help save money on utility installation

Some counties are more tiny-house-friendly than others


Raw land has many possibilities

David finds most of his land in the Southwestern United States

His dream plot of land would have a lot of trees and be near water


Dave Denniston 0:00

I don't know if you've ever been to Galveston, Texas, but everything's on stilts because you can get flooding. You know, a tiny home on stilts just doesn't sound that interesting. So for a tiny home community here, you know, probably you really want to avoid most flood zones.

Ethan Waldman 0:16

Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live with tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 220 with Dave Denniston. Today on the show, we are talking land, and specifically raw land, even more specifically cheap land. My guest Dave Dennison is actually a land broker of sorts. He finds great, inexpensive land around mostly the west and southwest, and makes sure that everything is good, clean title, etc. And then has built a portfolio of inexpensive properties that he is actually willing to then finance when he sells them to you. So in this episode, we go through all the basics of buying raw land, like what to look for what pricing to look for, things to avoid. We also talk about what the tiny home friendly counties are around the country that Dave has found in his extensive land buying and selling experience. And then we learn more about Dave's podcast. It's called the Land Stories podcast and it's a podcast all about buying land. I hope you stick around.

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Dave Denniston 2:32

All right, I am here with Dave Denniston of generation family properties. Dave is a passionate owner and seller of raw vacant rural land. He got into the business of buying and selling land due to the desire for a better life for his family and particularly his youngest daughter Evangeline, who was born less than a pound 12.4 ounces to be exact in 2012. A few years ago, he also started sharing his love of vacant land and do's and don'ts through his podcast Land Stories. Dave Dennison, welcome to the show.

Hey, Ethan. Glad to be here, man.

Ethan Waldman 3:04

Yeah, glad to have you. So I was hoping I always like to start with kind of your story, your backstory. Can you talk about your daughter of Evangeline? And you know why that led? Or how that led to you wanting to do what you're doing now?

Dave Denniston 3:19

Yeah, absolutely. So a little bit of background, I actually own several businesses, okay. And so I've done financial planning forever. The last 20 years of my career and my daughter, my youngest daughters have two two girls, three girls, including my wife, two girls, one is 17, about to finish up high school in the next year, and then my youngest is 10. She was born 10 years ago on Mother's Day, in 2012. She was an extreme preemie. And we were just going through this whole process, my wife had toxemia that was diagnosed, and which can lead to seizures and all kinds of horrible things. And she had it with both kids, actually. But the second time it came on really early. And so we've had to come to this horrible decision of do leave her in there with the possibility like both of them could die, you know. And this was 23 weeks of gestation out of 40. Or do you take her out and take the chance that okay, the wife's probably going to be okay, but then, you know, she's coming out so early, that there's a higher likelihood that she doesn't make it versus she does. So, we took this huge leap of faith and said, Okay, let's do it. And I'll tell you, having explained that to my oldest daughter, who was six at the time, yeah, almost broke me. You know, it's like, wow, it was it was hard, a hard, hard moment in my life.

And so we get through it, and I'm the they're in the operating room as they take this teeny little thing out, you know, she she was fully formed. But her skin was like translucent, they had to get a little breathing tube down her throat in order for her to breathe because her lungs weren't fully formed yet. And thank goodness the fellow stuffed that teeny, weeny little tube down her teeny, weeny, weeny little throat, she made it. And it was it was a lot of kind of touch and go for a while, but we were in the NICU, the neonatal intensive care unit for like, four and a half months after she was born, and she just progressively slowly got bigger, you know, there's some scares along the way, like she had pneumonia going down her tube that one time. And this, this little girl has had to overcome a lot in her life. You know, she's constantly been behind other kids, whether was growth physically, mentally, emotionally. And a lot of the reason I do what I do and into having multiple businesses is I want to make sure that she's going to be taken care of, luckily, she doesn't didn't have any brain hemorrhaging, or intestinal issues or long term lung issues, but she still has a lot of kind of mental, you know, things she's working through. So who knows what she could become like, the most amazing genius in the world, I don't know. But at this stage, I think, wonder what her path is good. And so I'm incentivized to try and set her up as much as I can. Matter of fact, she said that I want to work with you in land. So you know, maybe she'll, she'll be replacing me at some point, I don't know.

But yeah, she's really been a driving force for me. And I actually, you mentioned Land Stories as a podcast that I've done. And as part of that journey, I had a person that came on to my podcast that talked about buying and selling land. And that really turned me on to it. My My parents used to, they have rental properties. And so I was exposed to real estate when I was really young, they helped me manage one of them. And I can't even tell you during college, how much I hated. It was like the worst experience ever. And I am not a handy guy, that is not my skills. I know stuff. I'm an Eagle Scout, but I'm I really don't do well with handy things. And so when we came across the land, I realized, hey, I can learn about a property, I can do this all remote, it doesn't require me to build stuff. And I can help people out. And it's been such a joy. Now, the last five years, I've been doing that on top of other stuff. You know, we've sold hundreds of properties, just helping regular folks get a chance at owning a piece of the American dream, you know, having a property that they're not crowded out, around 5 billion other people, we can reach out your hand and touch someone else's wall, you know, just acres of space that we we've done all over the country so far.

Ethan Waldman 8:01

Awesome. Yeah. So can you talk a bit more about what Generation Family Properties actually does it kind of where in the pipeline of land? Are you?

Dave Denniston 8:11

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I, I've been really thinking about kind of what we do. And I guess if I was to say it in a quick way, I would say something like, you know, we help a lot of families kind of Midwest and southwest, we don't do so much in the southeast, or the eastern part of the country. As much as the Midwest and southwest, you know, really trying to make land affordable for people. So we do a lot of owner financing and easy monthly payments that allow people to start owning land, whether they want to build on it, or they want to build, buy it for cash and just start immediately or whatever. Or there's one at recreationally, you know, maybe they want to take an RV or mobile tiny home out there. You know, every so often, you know, all those sorts of things, camp on it, or just have land just to have land and maybe one day they'll do it. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 9:03

And so does this generation family, you buy land and then and then sell it to people. So you're kind of keeping your eyes out for good land. And then and then connecting people with it.

Dave Denniston 9:16

Exactly. Yeah. So basically, what we do, you know, as as a business, obviously, we're not a nonprofit entity. We are for profit.

Ethan Waldman 9:23

Yeah, yeah.

Dave Denniston 9:24

And we go and we have some places we've been buying land since the beginning of when. And we continue to add more counties and more states and places where we buy and sell land and essentially we keep on going back. And so we will send letters to people that currently own land. We sometimes buy liens through tax deed auctions or through tax liens that get close. And so we acquire land and lots of different ways. And one way or another, you know, someone doesn't want a property anymore. So we're coming in there and taking it off of their hands. And a lot of cases, it's been someone that's older, they're like 60. 70, 80 years old, they're like, my kids don't want this, I'm not going to build out there like I thought I would. And so we come in and buy it off of them. And at a steep discount relative to what we think the market rate in a lot of our case, a lot of our land that we buy is sub 50,000 bucks. And so a realtor isn't going to give a rip, about a property under 50,000 bucks. And so yeah, yeah, that's where we come in and buy it. And and we typically, we're looking for all kinds of different criteria, which I'm sure we can talk more about, about how we decide, hey, we want this land, we don't want this land and so on.

Ethan Waldman 10:46

Yeah, well, let's I mean, let's jump right into that what what is the criteria, you know, because I'm guessing that, you know, the dream of many of my listeners who are either living tiny already, or planning to be living tiny, is that they want to find an affordable place to park their tiny house and to live. You know, most tiny house people don't necessarily want to be mobile, they want to put down roots, they want to have a piece of land or a place to rent that they can call their own. My hunch is that renting a spot is what most people do, simply because they don't think that they can afford to own a spot. Yeah, so what are some of the criteria that you're that you're looking for? When you're when you're looking at raw land?

Dave Denniston 11:32

Yeah, absolutely. So even, you know, what we do is, first we kind of identify a county, this, this looks like a good County. So we go through some some filtering initially to say, hey, how affordable is land here? We're, we're not currently, at least in the business of trying to put hundreds of 1000s of dollars into a property, we want to buy something that other people can easily afford. So right, we often filter by price. So you can go on a website, like lands of America, or land watch, and you could put in criteria of oh, hey, here, one acre to five acres. In this state, you know, where are the cheapest places that you could buy? Land, right, you know, it could put on prices in there. 1000 to 10,000. So that's where we start. And then after we've identified the county, we will then start mailing maybe a subdivision or an acreage size, and we'll start sending letters out, people start responding to the properties come in, and quite honestly, like it's a whole range a property, like, we don't know what we're gonna get. It comes back.

Ethan Waldman 12:46


Dave Denniston 12:47

And so, once it comes to us, then we start doing a due diligence process. And some of the first things we started looking for, is does it have legal access? Which what that means is that, could you build on a property if you want it, and more often than not legal access? If you look on a county GIS map, which is an online mapping system that most counties provide, then you could see a platted Street, okay, in between that parcel, and the one across the street, if you will, if you see a bunch of parcels that are all, you know, squares that are all right next to one another, there's a really good chance that there's not legal access. Now there might be legal access, if there's an easement, or something like that. But I find more times than not, you have to have that little platted Street, that little strip of a room that is there. So that's one of the first things we look for a second thing we look for, is going to be is there physical access, meaning the street is there. But is it like maintained or not?

Ethan Waldman 13:56

Does it exist in real life?

Dave Denniston 13:58

Does it exist? Exactly. And and is it you know, do you need a four by four to get out there? Yeah, yeah. And we're not against buying properties that don't have physical access. But they're going to be far cheaper. So if we found out and we priced it based on Oh, we thought it was going to be better physical access will knock down our price than what we thought it was. And so we'll end up selling a property much cheaper because it doesn't have physical access. So just because it doesn't have physical access doesn't mean we're going to knock him out. Because it means he couldn't sell it really, really cheap, which for the right person might be a good, a good fit for him. Right? But legal access is incredibly important to us. It's very, very rare that we'll buy a property without legal access. That's a must. Because most of our people, they don't just want land to have land. They want to build on it. They want to camp on it. They want to take an RV out there or some you know, to get away and do actually something with the land because if you don't have legal access, you can't do anything with it.

Ethan Waldman 14:59


Dave Denniston 15:00

The next thing that we usually do outside of that is we start using, we use a tool called MapRight. Just like it sounds, M_A_P_R_I_G_H_T. And this is a paid tool, you can usually get a free subscription for for like nine days or something. And we'll pull it up on there and we will look for a few things like is it in a flood zone? Is it in a wetland, you know, you want to be aware of those things. They may not stop you from building, but it can make building a lot more expensive. Because if it's wetlands, you might have to mitigate the wetland, right? If, if it's in a flood zone, it might mean like, I don't know if you've ever been to Galveston, Texas, but everything's on stilts, and galvus, right? Because you can get flooding. You know, a tiny home on stilts just doesn't sound that interesting. So for, a tiny, tiny, tiny home community here, you know, probably you really want to avoid most flood zones. But you know, some place like Florida, you know, like a lot of it is wetlands and flood zone. So there and people still build on it. But it just depends on the type and the county regulations and what kind of flood zone or wetlands generally we try to avoid those. Or again, we're not against buying it, but we got to buy it super cheap. And we end up passing that on, you know, at the end of the day, to an end consumer that might not mind it, and might overcome and they just want to buy a cheaper.

Ethan Waldman 16:29


Dave Denniston 16:30

Other things you have to watch out for like in Arizona, for example. It's much pretty dry in Arizona, a lot of it right? You think it desert? Yeah. But when it rains, it can rain hard. And you get these things called washes. And so you just like with floods on do you have to be aware of washes? Like, it looks like there would be a river there when you look at it and like a GIS map. And so you have to be aware, is this in a wash or not? Other things that we start thinking about here, too, would be like, is there electricity nearby? Because it's on grid off grid kind of property? Are there any other utilities available? Most of the time, for most of our properties, a lot of them are off grid, but some are on grid, you might get some of the utility ones with utilities are going to be more expensive. Right. Some other things on our checklist. We want to know the GPS coordinates, you know, though, how large is it? So we might double check measurement? I feel like I'm just talking on here, Ethan. So please,

Ethan Waldman 17:37

No, this is all this is all great. I just hope that that whoever, you know, if you're listening and you're looking for land for your tiny house, I hope you're taking notes because like, there's just so many things to consider that that you might not have thought of, and just the tools that you're mentioning, like MapRight, you know, looking for the county GIS map through through the town planning office or something like that. It was just all great tips.

Dave Denniston 18:04

And then something else that is very, very important that we do is talk to the planning and zoning department. And it's called different things at different places. So yeah, like in Oregon, they call it community development. Colorado, they call it planning and zoning. But essentially, the question is, what do they allow you to do on your property? How is it zoned? And so some might be zoned like agricultural one, which, by the county's definition, there's like, anything you could do on the property, there's no minimum square footage size, which is important for tiny homes, that you know, you can put a 200 square foot place you want to might want to know, can you have chickens on? Can you have a horse on it? And you have a cow on it? You know, all of these questions, which people ask us we try and answer those questions ahead of time by talking to planning and zoning. How many structures can you put on it? Can you camp on you take an RV on it, whatever restrictions are? And so every municipality is different. And then on top of that you layer in there's even inland there's HOAs out there, so that some HOAs have rules and you just have to get them yeah.

Ethan Waldman 19:17

Got it. Yeah, and HOAs can often be the enemy of tiny homes.

Dave Denniston 19:22

This is true. Yeah, I mean, so many of them. Most of them I've ran into I'd say probably are like 600 square foot minimum. Right? If not 1000 Which definitely take takes out tiny homes. And for sure some counties like I've done a lot of business in Costa County, Colorado, okay. It doesn't matter where you are in the county. It's 600 square foot minimum. That's their rule. So a whole as you do your research and kind of dig into it, you know, if I was someone that wanted to have a tiny home, you know, I would probably start with the pricing stuff I talked about just to have an idea Yeah, how much does it cost for the size of property that I want? In a state? Yeah. And then I would contact the county to make sure that it's tiny home friendly. In terms of branding. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 20:12

What do you see as some of the biggest benefits of purchasing raw land?

Dave Denniston 20:18

Well, I think, I think Ethan, you know, in terms of the benefits, well, you know, there's, there's a lot of things that you can buy, and they go down in value, right? You go, you buy a car, you know, the second, you drive that off the lot, you've just lost money. And everyday you drive it, you're losing money. With land, a is not going anywhere. They're not making any more of it, except maybe in Hawaii. And, you know, it's, it's something that has generally tracked if not beat inflation, over time. So it is an investment of sorts. Of course, it's not like a stock or a bond, you can just sell tomorrow, you know, on an open market, you know, it does take some time and effort and energy to sell one day when you want to sell it.

Ethan Waldman 21:11

Got it.

Dave Denniston 21:13

Besides that, I mean, obviously, there's so many different things that you can do with it, whether you want to improve it, you want to put septic on it, put a well on it, you want to clear a camping spot, you want to plant trees, you know, you can really make it all yours, you know, in terms of how you want the land to be. Yeah, it's it's for me, you know, it's all about helping people achieve that dream, that vision, oh, man to have two acres or five acres to spread out on is pretty awesome to have people say, I've been dreaming about this my whole life. And you can help them out with that. There's nothing more rewarding I could think of.

Ethan Waldman 21:54


I asked John and Fin Kernaghan have united Tiny House Association what they love about their PrecisionTemp hot water heaters. And here's what they told me.

John Kernohan 22:04

Hey, Ethan. This is John and Fin Kernaghan with United Tiny House Association.

We organize tiny house festivals.

Oh, yeah, I guess so.

Fin Kernohan 22:12

First and foremost

John Kernohan 22:14

We have a total of three PrecisionTemp On Demand hot water heaters. The thing we really like about these and folks know this, I think they pick this up on Fin and I, if we don't like something, you'll never hear us talk about it. So the two things we noticed that we noticed and experienced immediately. They took painstaking effort to make sure that it was done right and installed. And so that was pretty cool right there. The other thing is the continuous on demand hot water that just ran forever without any fluctuations or anything. I can't imagine an application, especially in our environment and our lifestyle of being the nomad, transportable, mobile, tiny lifestyle where one of these units aren't good to use.

Ethan Waldman 23:06

So, you know, in terms of so if it's raw land, and we're talking raw, like there's nothing on it, you know, some big costs, at least in the northeast, which is where where I am, can often be clearing out the trees, you know, for wherever your house site might be. And then also, if there aren't utilities, you know, bringing power in from the street can be really expensive. And also, you know, coming up with a water source, putting in a well can also be rather expensive. Do you have a way of kind of estimating those costs or evaluating a piece of land? With the with the assumption that those costs are going to have to go in at some point?

Dave Denniston 23:58

Well, here's, here's what I would do. You know, if I were in the situation of, of wanting to bill specifically, and do some of the things you were talking about, once again, things just vary so much from region or region? Yeah. Like, for example, in Mojave County, Arizona, it's like, I think it's, I don't know, 100 bucks to get like 1000 gallons of water hauled to you. Whereas in Costa County, Colorado, it's like 250 bucks, it's two and a half times the cost. And that's just that one teeny little thing. You know, so it's so regionally dependent on where you're at, you know, obviously if you have trees, like in the northeast, if you're in Maine, or someplace like that, or New Hampshire or Washington State, or Minnesota here, you know, it could cost a fair amount to clear versus one that's already cleared out or more was more grassy in the winter.

Ethan Waldman 24:54


Dave Denniston 24:55

You could always plant more trees is what I tell people. You know, you can always plant trees in the ground. If you want, you know if you really wanted.

Ethan Waldman 25:01

Right, right.

Dave Denniston 25:02

But you're right, it is expensive. There are certain things you can do, you know, like, you have to think about what are your needs? So getting septic, for example, well how large of a tank do you really need? You know, there's obviously all kinds of systems and things available. Depending upon the area where you're at and the size of land that you buy, you might be forced to buy an alternative septic, that's far more expensive versus traditional stuff, if your land is perking or not. So there's a lot that goes into it, I would say, as a general rule of thumb, you know, the larger your property, the less these issues are going to be. So a five acre property is going to be have a way larger chance of perking, versus a quarter acre property, you know. A quarter acre, you have to be really cognizant of how much this perking costs? And can you perk on versus five acres? Well, now you have what is that? 20? quarter acre, you know, parcels? And yeah, so, you want to be cognizant of that in terms of water? You want to think about, you could drill for a well, but might it be cheaper, if you just had a cistern and water hauled to you? Or is that just a temporary solution while you get the money to drill for a well, and then again, how large of a tank do you need, and what are your needs in terms of water every month? So if you're single, and don't have a family, you're not going to need nearly as much water as if you have, you know, six kids, you know, your needs are going to go up that much more, everything gets more expensive.

So you got to keep all of that in context, that it may not make sense to have a cistern and if you have, you know, partner and six kids, you know, like you might as well just drill for a well, because your needs are going to be so much that having water hauled to you every week ain't gonna make sense. So right, right, everyone's situation is different. Certainly, like in Colorado, you go up into the mountains, it's much more expensive to drill for a well, because the rocks are that much harder and difficult to get through and the water table is so much lower down into the ground. If you go into the valleys in Colorado, well, you don't have all the beautiful trees. But to get to water, it's like 120 feet versus the 400 or 500 feet up in the mountains. So depending upon the rock structure, and you know, all of those stuff, all of those things come into play. And a lot of time, it's a give and take, you know, you're giving up, you're getting trees, but you're giving up, you know, easy to get to water.

Ethan Waldman 27:43

Got it.

Dave Denniston 27:44

Or, you know, you're getting a larger lot, which is awesome. But then you have not all of the the usually the smaller lots have closer access to electricity or utility. So you might be giving up that utility access that you might get in a smaller lot. Which of course, you know, everyone says, you know, Dave, I want a five acre parcel trees on it stream running through it with all the utilities on it for $5,000. You know, that? Yeah, that's not going to happen. That's not, that's not reality that does not exist, I'm sorry to say, you know, it's all trade off here.

Ethan Waldman 28:26

Yeah, exactly. The more the more you get, the more you're gonna pay, it makes sense. But just like the difference in like looking at some properties on the site, just clicking through, you know, looking at some beautiful properties in New Mexico that are less than $10,000. Just like kind of blowing my mind. Here, sitting in Vermont where like, the cost of land has just exploded through the pandemic, as I'm sure it has in many places. And just realizing that if you're less tied to a specific state or a specific location, and you're more open to being somewhere else, and it's really the land itself that's drawing you in, you can really find things that are very, very affordable.

Dave Denniston 29:15

Absolutely, absolutely. And that's why we specialize in more the Midwest and southwest.

Ethan Waldman 29:20

Yeah, yeah.

Dave Denniston 29:21

If you even places like Texas, that used to be cheaper have just skyrocketed. And I know for me stuff I used to buy for 1000 bucks. Now we have to buy for 3000 bucks. You know, like, our cost.

Ethan Waldman 29:34

It still sounds really cheap, but that is a 3x increase.

Dave Denniston 29:38

Yes. Yes, sir. Absolutely.

Ethan Waldman 29:41

Is there you know, is there a price per acre for example, that you just like for your business just don't go over or you lose their like a sweet spot in pricing that you're looking for?

Dave Denniston 29:54

Well, you know, when we buy land, our money is going into it.

Ethan Waldman 29:59


Dave Denniston 29:59

So like, I've always taken the attitude, I would rather have more properties than less. I have friends that are in the same business that, you know, they would rather have less properties but higher dollar amounts, which is a lot more risk, you know, you buy something for sure. 5080 grand, and you're hoping, you know, to make 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80,000 bucks on it, you know, it's a lot more that they need to own. So I've always felt I would rather help more people than less.

Ethan Waldman 30:29


Dave Denniston 30:30

Certainly, I hope to get more larger dollar properties as time goes on. And we continue to go after those. But I'm very selective about what I'm what I'm going to buy when you're as an entrepreneur, you know, you're taking that amount of risk. That sure you don't know if it's gonna sell or not. And in this world today, you know, who the heck knows what will happen tomorrow.

Ethan Waldman 30:53

So, yeah, yeah. So are there some kind of tiny home friendly counties that you've, you've come across that you'd like to buy land in?

Dave Denniston 31:01

Yeah, yeah. So um, in the southwest, for example, we've done a lot in Mohave County, Arizona. So Mohave County in particular, is very tiny home friendly. They're even like Earthship friendly, and whatnot. And even if you have a tiny home on wheels, if you get septic installed, you could live in it too. So I like Mohave County a lot for that Mohave County, for those that don't know, is in the northwest corner of Arizona. So you're like an hour and a half from Vegas? Probably depending where you're at in the county, two and a half hours from Phoenix. You're bordering California. So it is very desert. You know, so for a snowbird you want to get away from Vermont and, and get warmed up over the wintertime, you know, it's a great place for that. During this time of the year starts to be pretty hot, you know, because if you love hot weather, it's great for you, but you know, you do get a lot of 90s You know, this time of of the year. Another County, I like a lot, which actually we don't even have any properties there right now. That is tiny home friendly is Cibola County, New Mexico. Okay, so Cibola county is another great place very low in the way of restrictions. There's some smaller properties out there and a few subdivisions that we like a lot. So I like that one. Quite a bit. As well as Apache County, Arizona, is very friendly, tiny home wise, you know, they don't have a lot of restrictions on size out there. For mobile, tiny homes or for if you want to actually, you know, have it on a foundation.

Ethan Waldman 32:42

Yep. Yep.

Dave Denniston 32:44

In Colorado, one place that we've bought and sold quite a bit of land that is tiny home friendly, but you have to have a foundation on it. It's Park County is a little more expensive. You're closer to Denver, in Colorado Springs, probably like two hours from Denver, you're like an hour hour and a half from Colorado Springs, where you're at in the county, so they just have like a 200 square foot minimum. So they're very tiny home friendly. I think, here in Minnesota, I believe. We have a couple of properties right now in St. Louis County, Minnesota. So if you're wanting to escape away from the heat, and you're in Arizona, or someplace like that, we are very tiny home friendly. You're too nice. There's no minimum square footage to build in St. Louis County. So that's been a great County for me. And those that's kind of my experiences off of where we're buying and selling land in.

Ethan Waldman 33:48

Fantastic. Yeah, those, you know, again, I hope, I hope you're listening, you're taking notes will for the show notes. On this episode, we'll list out, you know, those counties that you mentioned, so that that people can can find those, but I'm looking at at Gen Fam, you know, it looks like in terms of the pricing, I noticed that that you are offering, you know, you can essentially finance the properties for people, and that you're oftentimes listing like when I see a property that says like starting at $99 a month. What does that mean? Is that is that a mortgage payment? Is that is that a rent to own situation? Like how is that all structured?

Dave Denniston 34:29

Yeah, great question. So we do owner financing where people aren't renting. They're building equity into it. So saying it's a mortgage would be a good parallel, but instead of a bank offering the financing, it's me, me personally, I am financing you. And so we have on our website minimum, so $249 minimum and $99 a month or $149 a month or whatever depending upon the that's the bare minimum I'm looking for. And so the way that I do financing is, is I want you to be incentivized to pay this thing off as quickly as possible, right? If you buy it in cash, rather than owner financing, we usually give you 1000, or maybe $2,000 discount, relative to owner financing. And if you do do owner financing, we set the interest rate. And so the way we do it is, let's say like, it's a $3,000 property, right, and you're gonna put down 1500 bucks, that's 50%, down on the property, and then you're gonna finance the rest, you're gonna do 150 a month, and in a year, that pays it off. We don't charge any interest in that case. So 0% interest, if someone finances it over two years, we charge a 5% interest rate. Three years or four years, we do an 8% interest rate. And then five years or longer, we do 10%. So the longer you finance, the more expensive the interest rate is going to be.

Ethan Waldman 36:05


Dave Denniston 36:05

And the lower the amount of time you finance, the cheaper it's going to be for you. Now, of course, you can pay it off anytime there's no prepayment penalties, which some folks prefer, hey, let's do do just keep it cheap and do the lowest possible payment. That's totally fine. And we can do that. Some folks would rather just knock it out early. So it's all about you and what works for you. It's, we'd like to make it as easy as possible for folks to get in and do it. And, you know, honestly, in many cases, for us, we don't even actually make money on a property until like two plus years of payments by it off.

Ethan Waldman 36:44


Dave Denniston 36:44

So, you know, it depends on the property, you know, it's it for us, we're investing in you, as well as you investing in us, right? We want to make sure someone's a great long term fit, and that they're good on payments. And, you know, it's not not a huge issue for us. So, yeah, we do have a company policy, if you talk to different land investors, some will say you cannot build at all while you while you are paying. We took a policy of we want to give people a chance, but we don't want to get screwed over and having people leave a bunch of junk on a property that they started building. So we say that you have to make a minimum of six months worth of payments. As matter of fact, I'm probably going to start making it nine months or 12 months, because we have gotten screwed over a couple of times by people that weren't treating the properties nicely, and then stopped paying and then left junk inside.

Ethan Waldman 37:35

And then you got a property that you need to clean out.

Dave Denniston 37:38

And we're getting letters from the county saying, Hey, we're gonna start fining you money, which is not, that's not good. No, no. So that does happen to us. It's not a lot of fun, but it's the risk of being in the business. And we're willing to take that risk to give allow people to build and that's the reason why so many people come to us, they want to be able to build on a property and I'm happy to do it. If someone's good at paying us on time. They're trustworthy, and we have a good relationship. Got it?

Ethan Waldman 38:07

Got it. How long have you been in the business? Or how long has Generation Family Properties been been going for?

Dave Denniston 38:15

Five years now? Right? So it's our five five year anniversary this year?

Ethan Waldman 38:20

That's awesome. That's awesome. And and like how many properties do you have available for sale? Right now?

Dave Denniston 38:28

I mean, the right this minute as of today we have 55

Ethan Waldman 38:32


Dave Denniston 38:33

on the website

Ethan Waldman 38:34


Dave Denniston 38:34

Oh, all over the country. And we're getting getting more every day of course the inventory changes on a daily basis. Yeah, you know, we have some people buying we have sometimes people that default on payments. So you know, something you see today may not be here tomorrow.

Ethan Waldman 38:50


Dave Denniston 38:51

But right this moment we have 50 plus.

Ethan Waldman 38:53

Got it. It sounds like you know do you ever work with people like if there's somebody listening who's like okay, I you know, Mohave County Arizona sounds really interesting. But I'm not seeing I'm not seeing a property there that is like quite what I'm looking for here are my criteria. I want to let somebody else do the all this due diligence work of like checking the title, checking the easements, the access all that stuff. Do you work with people to find land?

Dave Denniston 39:27

Yeah, well, we certainly try to, but quite honestly, like, the best thing people can do is just get on our emailing list. Just because we literally have like 5000 people on our on our list so okay, to focus just for one person I'd love to but there's just so many properties and so much going on it just frankly don't have the time you know, to help one person unless they say hey, do you have anything that has this we can let you know what we have available, and then stay on our emailing list because more than likely, we might come to find something that you're looking for. And we do tag people on our system. So if someone says, I want something in Arizona, I want something with trees or whatever, we do have a way of keeping track of that in our CRM, so that we can pull a list of people to specifically email them for something, but if someone says, I want it specifically in this part of the county, and you know, this little corner with, you know, all this stuff that's a little harder for us to keep keep track of, but in general, you know, if someone can tell us what counties they're interested in states, sites

Ethan Waldman 40:45


Dave Denniston 40:46

Trees or no trees, you know, we can definitely tag someone so that we know, hey, this is the kind of thing that they're interested in, then we can email everybody that's interested in that particular thing.

Ethan Waldman 40:56


Dave Denniston 40:57

When we have something that pops up,

Ethan Waldman 40:59

Nice, nice. Well, you are a podcaster, as well, you do the Land Stories podcast. And I was I was hoping or wondering, you know, is there an episode or two, that are either favorites of yours are just like a good kind of intro to the show that you you'd recommend to our listeners?

Dave Denniston 41:18

Yeah, absolutely, then, thank you for allowing me to plug it for a minute. You know, we've, we've been at this for a few years, we normally do an episode, twice a month. And so we have about 80 episodes now something like that are going to be out. So there's a lot to choose from. I suggest, you know, if if someone is looking to understand some of the basics, I would actually start with the first few episodes.

Ethan Waldman 41:50


Dave Denniston 41:51

Because we talk about the chain of title, we talk about how to find GPS corners, how to check for lien, how to check for scams, you know, just something a lot of people are concerned, you know, how do you know that this is a legitimate deal. We walk people through that. So all of those kinds of episodes I think would be great. Is It A Scam is Episode Seven. How To Find the GPS Coordinates is Episode Ten.


Chain Of Title is Episode Four. So all of those would be wonderful ones to do. And we also have, part of what I'm trying to do is, is talk to people that have developed land and bought land. And we've had a number of our clients on nice, but if someone in this audience is listening, and they've developed land, we would love to have you on the story to talk about what is your journey been? What would have been the good things, bad things? How did you select the land? Yeah, so if anyone's here is listening, I would love to have you on the show to talk about your journey. And I because I feel the best way people can learn from others. Right? Yeah, we can talk about some of the basics. But people stories are so important.

Ethan Waldman 43:04

Totally, totally. Well, I'm looking forward to being on the show myself. I think that's coming up. And that'll be after this episode comes out. But at some point, I'll go back and update the show notes page with with a link to my interview on Land Stories.

Dave Denniston 43:18


Ethan Waldman 43:20

So one thing that I wanted to ask you is, where's your dream land?

Dave Denniston 43:26

Oh, that's a good question. You know, I think for me is that I do love trees. So I think probably I want something that that is close to water. You know, Lake doesn't have to be right on the property. But something where there's water nearby. So here in Minnesota, I really liked Rowan County. There's so many lakes out there and so you have a lot of a lot of land that's close to water. So that's a favorite place of mine. Of course you do you do get some colder weather up here. So if I was to try and find a more year round place that doesn't get as cold New Mexico would probably be high up on my list. There's some beautiful forested land in New Mexico more expensive okay in general, but I would try and find a place in New Mexico near a lake would probably be my most ideal spot. Nice high up in the mountains Red River areas gorgeous up there. I love mountains. I love trees. Yeah, love water. Yeah. So something with all of that would be wonderful. But not too crazy. Cool. Yeah, tons of snow. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 44:45

And how like, are you traveling to these places to look at these properties or at this point are you kind of you know these areas and you're and you're able to do most of this from from Minnesota?

Dave Denniston 44:56

Yeah, well, with 50 Something properties all over the country. Yeah, you know, there's, there's no way I'm gonna see all of them, you know, with every business as you grow it, which we've been blessed with growing and helping lots and lots of people, there's only so much I can do right as as the owner of the business, so I have different staff doing different things. And we have photographers that we go back to again and again and again, that will help us take pictures, analyze properties, take a look at it. Or sometimes we don't even take pictures of properties. If we know the area. Well, you know, if we've been back there a bunch of times, we don't need to get more pictures of the same area, we've gotten like 100 100 times already. So sometimes we don't even get pictures if we know it well. But if we don't know it well, or we feel that we need more pictures of of this parcel, or it's unique or different or something about it. We always get someone to check it out in in most cases, but no, I, I probably have hundreds of them. I've probably personally been to 30 or so.

Ethan Waldman 46:06

Wow, that's quite a few.

Dave Denniston 46:08

It is quite a few here in Minnesota, I have probably, you know, checked out 10. I've been to probably 10 In Oregon, and probably another 10 to 15 in Colorado.

Ethan Waldman 46:17

Nice. Nice. Well, one last thing that I like to ask all my guests is what's two or three resources that have helped you learn about buying and selling land that you could recommend to our listeners?

Dave Denniston 46:34

Absolutely. Yeah, I think I'm one of one of the guys that I really respect in the educational space. His name is Seth Williams, he has a blog, and a podcast. REtipster.com. I actually was on on his podcast, I don't know, three years ago or something. It's been a long time. So Seth is great, super ethical guy, great education on land, and buying and selling land. So I would highly, highly recommend him.

I think certainly, on YouTube, you know, there's lots and lots of of great resources. Yeah. A few of the people that are my competitors, that I follow that I think do some good work on education. I'm looking at up here, Gokce Capital, G_O_K_C_E. Capital, they do a really great job with education. I think I put out a lot of education, they do even more than I do. Yeah. So they have lots of great education there. And outside of those two, there's there's a few books on on land. Right? this moment, nothing's coming to my mind, if I think of it, I'll email it to you.

Ethan Waldman 47:52


Dave Denniston 47:53

But there are some some books as well. And obviously, there's all of our educational content that people get checkout with Land Stories, and podcasts and blogs, and all that.

Ethan Waldman 48:04

Yeah, and it really looks extensive. Just looking through the, the 80 or so podcast episodes. There's just a wealth of of different topics that I'm kind of, oh, I want to listen to that one, I want to listen to that one. Just to learn more, and kind of, it seems like with land, especially in a more competitive market, it's like, if you know what you want, and you know what to look for, and you're ready to kind of jump on it, that's that's probably the best, the best scenario to be in.

Dave Denniston 48:35

It's a lot like the housing market just then, you know, it's very competitive out there right now. And I'm sure that'll change. You know, I think, as with anything, it's good to jump in and get your feet wet and get going.

Ethan Waldman 48:47


Dave Denniston 48:48

Because who knows, you know, inflation continues to go up land values, and house values certainly could continue to go up.

Ethan Waldman 48:55


Dave Denniston 48:55

But I wouldn't be surprised in the next year or two. We have, you know, recession of some sort of mild recession, which could lead to you be able to buy stuff at lower prices than it is right now.

Ethan Waldman 49:06

There you go.

Dave Denniston 49:08

Who knows?

Ethan Waldman 49:08

Awesome. Well, Dave Denniston, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. This was really educational, and just, you're an awesome guest, and thanks for laying it all out for us.

Dave Denniston 49:19

Well, thank you, Ethan. It's so fun to be here. Anyone feel free to reach out with any any questions. If, if you want to look at specific properties, you definitely can contact my sales gal Kristy. And her email is sales. Sales@GenFamLand.com.

Ethan Waldman 49:40

Awesome. Yeah. And I'll put links to all that on the show notes for this for this episode, too.

Dave Denniston 49:46

All right. Well, thank you, Ethan. Appreciate it.

Ethan Waldman 49:48

Thanks, Dave.

Thank you so much to Dave Denniston for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes including a complete transcript, links to Gen Fam Properties, and the Land Stories podcast and so much more over at thetinyhouse.net/220. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/220. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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