Newsflash: [California] Want to buy some land in the boonies and do nearly nothing with it anytime soon. Where do I start?

Hi,Let me get this out of the way first:I have a very elementary idea of the real estate process. I will love to hear any and all advice you may have.I am going to lay out roughly what I am looking for and what I plan to do, hopefully in a way that is easy to read and follow; and then ask questions below. Thanks in advance.What I want to do now is almost on a whim. Admittedly, a whim I’ve had for a long time, and am now in a position to roll with… I am not planning to invest, I am not planning to flip.I am not planning to develop (though I may want to put something on the land, not necessarily a dwelling, and I may want to do more many years from now… but I won’t be heartbroken if I cannot.) As such, I’m not really looking for land that is billed as ready to build on (utilities, if any, could be hooked up at a later date, or not at all) but hey, if it doesn’t really cost anything, why not.I’m looking at relatively inexpensive properties far away enough that I’d only visit a few times a year. I’m looking to pay cash (which I assume means bank check, not an actual envelope of hundreds), though I could do owner-financing if the terms were good (always nice to have cash reserves) but I don’t really care.Budget seems to be anything from a few thousand to smaller places (one acre, couple acres), up to about twenty or thirty for a decent amount of acres. Just depends on how much I like the place, how far away it is from the closest annoying people (what’s the point of a place to escape the city if you’re next to loud neighbors?), how big it is… Needs access directly off a paved road or a decent dirt/gravel road.It does need an address, but I’ll probably have a permanent mailing redirect set up with the USPS.Specifically looking in places like Lassen County and similar remote northern counties, or Inyo county (because who doesn’t love the desert.)So my first question is basically: how does the process work for this? I can go to my bank and get a good idea of how to get a loan and find realtors for a house where I live, but I don’t know how to start the ball rolling on this … nothing about credit, obviously, but what about realtors? How does that even work? I know generally realtors take a fixed percentage of the sale price, but with a sale price so low, does it change into being a fixed fee? Are realtors necessary? Recommended?And if so, how do I go about finding one? I don’t really want to spend multiple weekends driving back and forth to find a realtor; I’ll do it to see a property, but prefer to do the stuff that doesn’t need my physical presence remotely.Second question: I’ve been looking at sites like zillow to make estimates of what’s available, but it seems that what I actually need to really go through the process is something a little better. I’ve tried to look through some MLS sites, but they don’t seem to show the stuff zillow shows. I know this is a seriously amateur question, but, uh… what do?( Example )Third question: how does insurance work for things like this? There’s either no real property that can be damaged or very little of it. On the other hand, liability insurance seems a lot more worrying: if I’m there for a grand total of one week a year, it might seem like a great place for random people to go trespassing and get hurt or die (somehow). Like if there’s a stream going through the property, someone might somehow decide to drown in it. Or maybe someone decides it’s a nice place to do meth-related activities. Can I just get a big ol’ liability insurance policy of some sort? How expensive could I expect one to be?On that note, legally speaking, do I need to do anything with the land to protect myself? Put up fences, signs, etc? Can I just turn a blind eye because I don’t actually care if someone camps there, without that biting me in the ass?Fourth, generally speaking, what kind of restrictions exist for what kind of permanent structures and other permanent changes? For example, could I put up a shed without permit or inspection, legally and without serious potential liability? Could I dig a hole? Level a small hill or fill in a small dip? Cut down a non-protected-species tree? I’m not planning anything specifically, just wondering what options are easy and what ones are difficult.Fifth, what kind of assessments and inspections are required for this kind of use? What kind should I make sure to get?I think that’s all for now, and I’d really love some feedback. Especially on how to get the ball rolling. And hey, if anyone knows anything that might interest me specifically…Thanks!



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