miniature toy car on top of monopoly board game

Playing Monopoly in One of the Country’s Fastest Growing Cities

Hello, financial freedom lovers.

As you may have read, we opened a self-directed IRA (SDIRA) primarily to invest in real estate. We’ve already made a few Monopoly moves. Our first SDIRA purchase is a 1/4-acre vacant lot zoned for two-family construction in the growing city of North Port, FL.

What makes this lot attractive?

Zoned for multi-family

There aren’t many lots zoned for two-family homes in North Port. The majority are for single-family homes, while others are for apartment buildings. There isn’t much in between, but the neighborhood where the lot is located has a block or two of lots zoned for two-family homes (RTF).

For over a year, I had been receiving real estate listings for lots for sale and had yet to come across any RTF vacant lots for sale. They’re hard to come by in this area.

Location, location, location!

Although the street where the lot is located is still undeveloped, without electricity or water lines, a few houses have been built a couple of streets to the left of the lot.

The vacant lot is located near the city of Port Charlotte, where you can easily access the city’s center, which includes developments, shops, and a variety of entertainment options. Both cities, North Port and Port Charlotte, are separated by a boulevard within the area.

vacant lot

Port Charlotte is in Charlotte County. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, Charlotte County is one of the top regions in the country for population growth.

It’s only a matter of time before that part of North Port is developed due to its proximity to Port Charlotte’s amenities.

The backstory of the lot

The sellers purchased the lot about 30 years ago, when North Port was still relatively undeveloped. According to the chart below, our population in 1990 was around 12,000 people. We’ve now surpassed 78,000 people.

vacant lot

North Port’s population is expected to exceed 100,000 by 2030. These freedom-loving people are going to need housing!

North Port, projected population growth

North Port is now one of Florida’s and the country’s fastest growing cities. To be honest, I’m not thrilled about seeing that trend continue, but if the migration persists, we must assist our new residents in finding a wonderful home. 😉

I prefer slower growth over time so that there isn’t too much traffic when we’re trying to get around. Right now, the amount of traffic is ideal for our trips to the beach and other nearby destinations.

How did the sale go?

We were going to make an offer as soon as I found the listing online, but the listing showed as pending afterward, and we thought we missed our chance.

Two days later, I received our realtor’s daily email listing, showing the lot up for sale once more! I was curious as to what had happened, so I contacted our realtor to make an offer.

It was put back on the market after the buyer backed out of the deal due to suspicions of a scam. It turned out that the owners were foreigners based in Australia and were closing from there, leading the buyer to suspect a scam and lose confidence.

I understand how some people can be intimidated as there are many real estate scams out there. We took a few precautions to determine if it was the real deal. For one, our real estate agent recognized the agent representing the seller. We also contacted the title company in charge of the transaction and asked a few questions and what-ifs.

The truth is that if the sellers were scammers, we would be unable to close because they would need to sign at a US embassy with their legitimate documents. As a result, there would be no closing.

Furthermore, the title insurance covers up to the cost of the lot. So the title insurance company would be liable if they didn’t do their homework.

Therefore, by proceeding with the sale, we had little to lose and much to gain.

We’d like to buy a vacant lot, please

We presented a $22,000 cash offer, $1,000 below the asking price. The sellers accepted our offer!

For context, 1/4 acre lots with all the infrastructure in place sell for about $30-$35k, but those are only for single family homes. We don’t have to build on this lot right away, so we could wait until someone else covers the cost of installing electric poles on that block, or we could team up with some neighbors to split the cost.

We signed a contract in late April with a June 15 closing date. Due to COVID restrictions, the embassy was only partially open for emergencies. The sellers had difficulty getting an appointment at the embassy. As a result, the closing had to be extended until the end of June.

Final thoughts

After finally closing in late June, we are thrilled to add this lot to our portfolio for a number of reasons:

  • It adds to our real estate portfolio, diversifying it away from stocks and bonds. Purchasing more tangible assets is part of our long-term strategy.
  • We now have a lot on which we can build in the future to expand our rental property portfolio.
  • If we decide not to build right away, we can pass it on as an inheritance to our next of kin and have them build on it if they so desire.
  • North Port is growing fast and is predicted to continue its growth. I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before those few blocks of multi-family lots begin to develop.

I feel like we’re playing Monopoly in real life, grabbing some land to later on build some homes on those lots! 😉 Let’s keep building our wealth and see what the cards have in store for us.

Do you like the Monopoly game? How do you play Monopoly with your investments?


After dedicating 13 years of his career to Vanguard, José retired from the corporate world at the young age of 44. During his tenure at Vanguard, he expertly coordinated the production of both electronic and print educational materials for 401(k) participants. Now, he relishes in his early retirement, cherishing time spent with his family, indulging in his favorite hobbies, seeking out new experiences, and savoring meals in the comfort of his own backyard.

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1 year ago

Hi. I don’t like to play Monopoly. Thanks for asking

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