Buying a Vacant Lot – WARNING – Hidden Things You Never Want to Overlook

On February 27, 2023 a vacant lot was listed for sale in Crossville, Tennessee. I did not find the listing until March 10th. I had a really bad bout of bronchitis and a sinus headache, so when I found the listing I jumped at it. I called the listing agent and asked all the standard questions. The listing agent’s husband drove over to the lot and made a YouTube video of the lot. It was perfect!

4.94 acres2 acres cleared, the rest were forest but not thick

Rectangular – not some weird narrow stretch, nor a weird shape resembling a strangled hernia, nor a decent shape marred by a one car width entrance to the lot from a cul de sac, and no shared driveway

LEVEL- not a steep slope either rising up from a street nor with a sharp drop off from a road

NOT a rolling landscape which would require a three story building built precariously sitting on a cliff

SAFE neighborhood – no drive by shootings, nor murders, nor auto thefts, break ins, nor reports of vandalism, etc

NOT in a flood zone. FEMA map showed no chance of flooding

NO creek nor pond nor lake nearby that might harbor standing water on the property during a storm

UNRESTRICTED LOT – ZONED Residential and Commercial and Agricultural. I could have built anything I wanted ANYTHING!

Not in a tornado belt nor hurricane path

Electricity and water hookups available at the street

Located 11 minute drive from the Lake Tansi Resort Restaurant and Bar!

Located 10 minute drive from the Cumberland County Public Library!

The seller had already turned down an offer so I made an offer of cash – full price BUT I wanted PROOF that the property could be connected to


AND AND AND That the soil test – aka septic field soil test would reveal that a 3 bedroom 2 bath house could be built on the land!

The realtor’s husband had worked for Spectrum and he saw a telephone poll up the road with a spectrum sign. BUT, after the sales contract was signed by myself and the seller, I called EVERY SINGLE Internet and landline provider in the county and NOT ONE, save Earthlink satellite, would provide service and NONE would provide a landline – NOT ONE!

I called the County Planner, the local water company – yes I could get water for another $1,050 in construction costs, but no one knew about Internet.

I finally got a woman in the Spectrum Construction Department and she explained it.

The line ended more than 3,500 feet up the road. Yes the neighbor could get Spectrum and yes the realtor spoke with the neighbor across the street who had Frontier, BUT EVEN if I had money to set on fire to heat my house, to run the line to the property, she said it was

OUT OF FOOTPRINT – the signal was NOT going to reach the lot UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES and Frontier told me the same! Frontier had run a line from the end of the cul de sac and it ended 3,500 or more from the lot!

30 hours after signing a sales contract, I signed a cancelation notice.

Last night I had new Facebook friends who live in Crossville write to me and say:


OMG I forgot about GARBAGE – In San Benito, Texas we had a DUMPSTER at the end of the long driveway. Here I have a large container on wheels. But I have always had trash pick up!

HAD I bought the lot and suffered with spotty satellite Internet, I would have been stuck with finding a way to store my garbage and then DRIVING it to a dump every few days! I have 3 cats and 3 dogs. NO WAY would I be able to stomach doing that!

And then a few hours after I canceled the news about bank failures dominated the headlines. I need to sit tight and get my house ready to sell. I will NOT try to buy anything until my house is under contract and the buyer has completed the process and we are just waiting for the title company to close. I hate doing it that way. I’ll need a contingency that I can find another home hoping the buyer will accept the terms of the contract.



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